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Getting at the Author: Reimagining Books and Reading in the Age of American Realism (Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book)

Getting at the Author: Reimagining Books and Reading in the Age of American Realism (Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Throughout the nineteenth century, American readers and reviewers assumed that a book revealed its author's individuality, that the experience of reading was a kind of conversation with the writer. Yet as Barbara Hochman shows in this illuminating study, the emergence of literary realism at the turn of the century called such assumptions into question. The realist aesthetic of narrative "objectivity" challenged the notion that a literary text reflects its author's personality.<P>But reading practices were slow to change; many resisted the effort to reconceptualize the relationship among writers, readers, and books. Even the most consistent advocates of "impartial" narration found it difficult to imagine a book without an author or to dissociate the experience of reading from the idea of a reciprocal human transaction.<P>In analyzing the battle over realism and the gradual shift in conventional reading practices, Hochman draws on a rich array of sources, including popular works, advertisements, and letters. She combines traditional modes of literary inquiry with methods adapted from the new historicism, cultural studies, and book history. By elucidating the realists' ambivalence about their own aesthetic criteria, she shows how a late-nineteenth-century conflict about reading practices reflected pressing tensions in American culture, and how that conflict shaped criteria of literary value for most of the twentieth century.

Book News Annotation:

In analyzing the battle over realism and the gradual shift in conventional reading practices, Hochman (foreign literatures and linguistics, Ben Gurion University, Israel) draws on an array of sources, including popular works, advertisements, letters, and reviews. She combines traditional modes of literary inquiry with methods adapted from the new historicism, cultural studies, and book history. By elucidating the realists' ambivalence about their own aesthetic criteria, she shows how a late 19th-century conflict about reading practices reflected pressing tensions in American culture, and how that conflict shaped criteria of literary value for most of the 20th century.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN:
9781558492875
Author:
Hochman, Barbara
Publisher:
University of Massachusetts Press
Location:
Amherst, MA
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
Authorship
Subject:
Criticism
Subject:
Books & Reading
Subject:
Books and reading
Subject:
American fiction
Subject:
Authors and readers
Subject:
Realism in literature
Subject:
Reader-response criticism
Subject:
American fiction -- 19th century.
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Series:
Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book (Hardcover)
Series Volume:
4
Publication Date:
20010431
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
200
Dimensions:
9.50x6.44x.78 in. 1.07 lbs.

Related Subjects

Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Reference » Writing » General

Getting at the Author: Reimagining Books and Reading in the Age of American Realism (Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book)
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Product details 200 pages University of Massachusetts Press - English 9781558492875 Reviews:
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