¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 17 Like the mode of reading and discussion that book clubs and online communities facilitate, the kind of analysis that this essay brings to Infinite Jest may appear relatively unsophisticated to many contemporary literary scholars. I haven’t paid much attention here to the kinds of interpretation and contextualization that is generally brought to bear on postmodern fiction; there’s of course important work to be done in that regard. But there’s also important work to be done, as we learned from Janice Radway, and re-learned from Ted Striphas, in exploring how a book connects with its readers, why those readers form an affective relationship with that book, and how those readers connect with one another through the medium of the book. Figuring out how these connections are formed is crucial to the future of literary culture, particularly as literature itself increasingly becomes part of the mediated world from which it historically held itself apart.
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 The conventional wisdom of recent years is clearly wrong: television and the internet are not driving reading into obsolescence. But they are undoubtedly changing what and how we read, and perhaps even why. Understanding those changes — and understanding that, as Korhonen indicated, the “literary community” extends far beyond the “spatially and temporally determined group of authors, readers, translators, editors, publishers, booksellers, critics, [and] students” with which have conventionally associated the term — presents enormous possibilities for the future of literary studies. Given that this mode of open reading and discussion can and will go on without us, we scholars ignore those possibilities at our own risk.
I can’t manage to figure out how to leave a comment on the entire text, so I want to thank you, Kathleen, for writing this excellent article and for giving me and others a chance to comment on it in this fashion.
Great essay, really enjoyed it and the comments.
Yes, thanks for sharing this. Really liked the essay — and enjoyed being introduced to this type of draft presentation.