Reading minor characters : an English literary society and its culture of investigation
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This essay approaches the cultures of reading anthropologically, drawing on my ethnographic research with the Henry Williamson Society to excavate the ways readers enthusiastically commit to the minor characters of Williamson’s novels. It places Alex Woloch’s literary analysis of minor characterization in dialogue with the anthropological theory of “distributed agency” developed by Alfred Gell in order to examine the idea of the reader as someone who “gives” and may in turn “receive” attention. The essay asks whether it might be more helpful to conceive of readers’ activities as a form of reading without “culture”—whether plurality, if it must be invoked, might better be located in the dynamism of the reading person.
Reed , A 2019 , ' Reading minor characters : an English literary society and its culture of investigation ' PMLA , vol. 134 , no. 1 , pp. 66-80 . https://doi.org/10.1632/pmla.2019.134.1.66
© 2018 the Author. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created accepted version manuscript following peer review and as such may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1632/pmla.2019.134.1.66
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