Making Readers: what is literary/literariness / Readings of a short story

For readings not in course book:

1. Literariness. What makes literature literary? -- vs. ordinary discourse.

(incorporating ideas from from students' notes)

A. Aesthetic

B. Engagement

C. Challenge to reader's world view

D. Meaning/universality

-- note bias to fiction in this list.



Are any of these features distinctive and exclusive to literature? or is literature characterized by a certain set of these features, none of which is defining in itself? -- see Wittgenstein on family resemblance (3rd para. in

>> why does this matter?

-- 1. what features (if any) help you account for your own interests as a reader?
-- 2. what features lie behind our assumptions about what literary reading is now, how unique (or not) it may be, given other media (from newspapers to romance novels, hypertexts to video games)
-- 3. when looking at readers in history, what features apply to them; what features might be missing from our list? (reading was different then? -- cf. Darnton, "First Steps")
-- 4. how do such features help account for the reader's motivation to read (for literary reading), whether now or in history?

2. Story responses

Analysis of readers' responses to "The Trout." Example below is from a study of readers of Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour."

Analysis and recording of data (Chopin readers 1 to 4)

Reader Para   Constituent (type: instance)

1         8         Character: reader misled over age
4         3         Character: speculates on difference of Mrs. Mallard
4         3         Plot: speculates on conditions of Mallardís death
4         3         Plot: reader anticipates (climax)
3        11        Reader emotion: surprise
3        11        Character emotion: surprise
3        11        Plot: reader anticipates (fear)
3        11        Reader emotion: fear for character
2        21        Self: awareness of potential feeling (death of partner)
2        21        Reader emotion: anger at character
2        21        Reader emotion: shift to feeling sorry for character
2        21        Reader emotion: wishes Mr. Mallard dead

Place data in a Word table, if possible, with 3 columns and rows corresponding to number of constituents; email to David.Miall@Ualberta.Ca

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Document prepared Sept 9 2006