Do Americans read for the purpose of aesthetic appreciation? Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars, 2011. According to Aubry, the episode is also a testament to the way difficult fiction justifies itself to therapeutic culture. Do Americans read for the purpose of aesthetic appreciation? Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars, 2011. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair : My Year of Magical Reading. The prevailing tendency among academic critics has been to decry the personal emphasis of contemporary fiction as complicit with the rise of a narcissistic culture, the ascendency of liberal individualism, and the breakdown of public life.
The Oxford Handbook of Nineteenth-Century American Literature. Dakar, Sénégal : Diaspora Academy Press, 2011. Philadelphia : Temple University Press, 2011. With a sharp sense of irony, Tim Aubry asks how fiction is used for therapeutic or self-help purposes by contemporary American readers. My main focus is to rescue this way of reading from the dismissive responses of many intellectuals and scholars. Theory of Mind and Literature.
The paradox is that part of what distinguishes middlebrow audiences from academics like himself is their respect for literature, but Aubry's own close readings of the works of contemporary writers are always sensitive and nuanced. After all, how can a novel be anything but intimate? In a rambling Amazon review quoted at length in the Kite Runner chapter, reader Roy Munson finally concludes that: True redemption can only be found within the soul, and for each person redemption requires a separate definition and asking price. Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, 2011. He concludes that, in the face of an atomistic social landscape, contemporary fiction gives readers a therapeutic vocabulary that both reinforces the private sphere and creates surprising forms of sympathy and solidarity among strangers. But the interaction works the other way as well.
The City on the Hill from Below the Crisis of Prophetic Black Politics. It looks like a postmodern novel: it is over 1,000 pages long, riddled with footnotes and packed with a staggering number of intertwined characters and plotlines. The same for the London of Zadie Smith, the ruthless England of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall. Perhaps people are drawn to novels that affirm their own self-image as intelligent, or empathetic—or maybe they look to fiction to validate selfish impulses and desires. Liverpool : Liverpool University Press, 2011. And to suggest that it depends on the context and situation. Critical American Studies Series Critical American Studies Series.
What novels accomplish for their individual readers, on the other hand, seems the question Aubry has spent the book answering in therapeutic—which is to say primarily private—terms. In Reading as Therapy, Timothy Aubry argues that contemporary fiction serves primarily as a therapeutic tool for lonely, dissatisfied middle-class American readers, one that validates their own private dysfunctions while supporting elusive communities of strangers unified by shared feelings. A Million Little Pieces was thought to be a heroically confessional memoir, before being revealed as a manipulative fabrication. With a sharp sense of irony, Tim Aubry asks how fiction is used for therapeutic or self-help purposes by contemporary American readers. What, Aubry asks, makes certain books appealing to broad bases of readers? New York : Facts On File, 2011. That art speaks to the inner-lives of men and women, and encourages empathy between them, remains the prevailing assumption of the average reader, not to mention most of its creators cf.
In Reading as Therapy, Timothy Aubry argues that contemporary fiction serves primarily as a therapeutic tool for lonely, dissatisfied middle-class American readers, one that validates their own private dysfunctions while supporting elusive communities of strangers unified by shared feelings. Gainesville : University Press of Florida, 2011. Aldama, Frederick Luis and William Anthony Nericcio. Reading therapeutically can perform a lot of positive functions for some readers in some moments, but in other situations it can reinforce the self-involvement that some observers find troubling when they look at America. As an invitation to read The Kite Runner, the reviewer promises a sadomasochistic experience. That word is hardly confined to McDermott's novel, either.
Intimate reading is reading for comfort, instead of all that good stuff — beauty, truth, wisdom — that we no longer acknowledge seeking without ironic air quotes. The Cambridge History of the American Novel. There are easy and cynical answers to such questions. With a sharp sense of irony, Tim Aubry asks how fiction is used for therapeutic or self-help purposes by contemporary American readers. Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2011. The point is crystallized when an audience member questions the artistic value of Paradise, on account of its difficulty: I was lost because I came into—I really wanted to read the book and love it and learn some life lessons; and when I got into it, it was so confusing I questioned the value of a book that is that hard to understand. They might seem radically dissimilar, though, in the challenges they pose for readers.
Tim Aubry takes the familiar complaint about literature s therapeutic uses and patiently unfolds their hidden complexities in this lucid and eloquent book. Beau Bassin, Mauritius : Alphascript Pub. To satisfy their own insatiable intellectual curiosities? University of Iowa Press Aubry argues that contemporary fiction serves primarily as a therapeutic tool for lonely, dissatisfied middle-class American readers, validating their own private dysfunctions while supporting communities of strangers unified by shared readings and shared feelings. Aubry traces the growth and proliferation of psychological concepts focused on the subjective interior within mainstream, middle-class society and the impact this has had on contemporary fiction. Icons of African American Literature : The Black Literary World. According to many critics, this paradigm allowed people who might otherwise be seen as privileged to claim that they, too, experienced the kind of suffering that built character, but through psychological, rather than material, deprivation.
New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Of course, empathy is a long way from political action, and left-wing commentators beginning back with Benjamin and Brecht, and continuing now with Fredric Jameson and nearly everyone with a PhD in English , have long criticized sentimental art for promoting the illusion that strong feelings constitute an adequate response to suffering and injustice. Mielle de Prinsac Annie-Paule and Susana M. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars, 2011. Whether consciously or not, the publishing industry is going to try to answer that need.
New York : Oxford University Press, 2011. Psychiatry went mainstream, the self-help industry and recovery movements exploded, and their methods and principles permeated popular culture. London : Pluto Press ; New York : Distributed in the U. Aubry is more effective when he draws claims from his diverse archive than when he makes his own evaluations. The books that get published are published because someone thinks that they will answer the needs of readers. We want to hear what you think about this article. Save intimacy for the bedroom.