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Uses of Literature (Blackwell Manifestos) by…

Uses of Literature (Blackwell Manifestos)

by Rita Felski

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Provocative book that asks literary scholars to reconsider their own investments in their objects of study and suggests four aesthetic categories--recognition, enchantment, knowledge, and shock--to replace the stances of critical distance and objectivity that currently dominant literary criticism. Well written, but I thought it slightly mischaracterized the current state of literary scholarship in some places to make its polemic work. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
The author makes a good case for 'enchantment' as a valuable aspect of literature that is too often overlooked by critics and scholars.
  bfister | Jul 2, 2010 |
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"To those outside the insular world of academic literary studies, it might come as a surprise that it is daring or provocative to suggest that literary texts are nourishing to readers or that we find benefit of any kind in our fictions. I personally concur with Felski’s assessment that in English and comparative literature departments efforts to explore the rewards or merits of exposure to a poem or novel are commonly assessed on a negative scale that runs from naïve to reactionary. What feels especially welcome in Felski’s approach is that she wants to open up literary texts to experiential, aesthetic, and favorable social value without aligning herself with the conservative or anti-theory wing of
the academic field." (204)
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