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date: 12 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

“Postcritical reading” slices across the dichotomy of sceptical detachment versus naïve absorption. Rather than interrogating what a text represents or fails to represent, it invites other questions: what does a text do? what does it set in motion? what ties a text to its readers? Such questions can do justice to the work of literature—the work that literature does, in the classroom and the world—while also leaving room for contingency and surprise. And here the language of attachment offers an alternative to the usual accounts (whether aesthetic or sociological) of why literature matters. Attachment, it should be emphasized, is not just a matter of feeling; it is also normative, involving questions of ethics or politics. In this sense, it allows us to look more closely at the similarities between academic criticism and lay reading, yet without denying their differences.

Keywords: attachment, reading, Latour, love, postcritical, hermeneutics, identification

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