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From Codex to Hypertext

Reading at the Turn of the Twenty-first Century

edited by Anouk Lang with contributions byDavid Wright, J. D. Pinder, Danielle Fuller, Janice Radway, Jin Feng, Edward Finn, DeNel Rehberg Sedo, David S. Miall, Julie Rak, Joan Bessman Taylor, Megan Sweeney, Molly Abel Travis, Daniel Allington, and Bethan

Publication Year: 2012

The start of the twenty-first century has brought with it a rich variety of ways in which readers can connect with one another, access texts, and make sense of what they are reading. At the same time, new technologies have also opened up exciting possibilities for scholars of reading and reception in offering them unprecedented amounts of data on reading practices, book buying patterns, and book collecting habits. In From Codex to Hypertext, scholars from multiple disciplines engage with both of these strands. This volume includes essays that consider how changes such as the mounting ubiquity of digital technology and the globalization of structures of publication and book distribution are shaping the way readers participate in the encoding and decoding of textual meaning. Contributors also examine how and why reading communities cohere in a range of contexts, including prisons, book clubs, networks of zinesters, state-funded programs designed to promote active citizenship, and online spaces devoted to sharing one’s tastes in books. As concerns circulate in the media about the ways that reading—for so long anchored in print culture and the codex—is at risk of being irrevocably altered by technological shifts, this book insists on the importance of tracing the historical continuities that emerge between these reading practices and those of previous eras. In addition to the volume editor, contributors include Daniel Allington, Bethan Benwell, Jin Feng, Ed Finn, Danielle Fuller, David S. Miall, Julian Pinder, Janice Radway, Julie Rak, DeNel Rehberg Sedo, Megan Sweeney, Joan Bessman Taylor, Molly Abel Travis, and David Wright.

Published by: University of Massachusetts Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-x

In assembling this volume I feel fortunate to have been the beneficiary of a great deal of support and advice from many scholars from the constellation of fields surrounding literary studies, book history, and reception study. Chief among these are Danielle Fuller and DeNel Rehberg Sedo, who directed...

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Introduction: Transforming Reading

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pp. 1-24

To investigate reading practices in the decades on either side of the turn of the twenty-first century is to expose a rapidly evolving field whose inner dynamics are still in the process of being mapped and understood. Interpretive practices...

Part I. Communities and Practices

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1. Zines Then and Now: What are They? What Do You Do with Them? How Do They Work?

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pp. 27-47

Zines are peculiar.1 There’s no way around that fact. They are well known enough to have been the subject of a number of compilations, anthologies, books, and films devoted to their analysis, most issued since...

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2. Have Mouse, Will Travel: Consuming and Creating Chinese Popular Literature on the Web

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pp. 48-67

The democratizing power of the World Wide Web in China, a favorite topic of both Chinese and Western scholars,1 seems to have been borne out by official statistics. According to the state-run China Internet Network Information...

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3. Online Literary Communities: A Case Study of Library Thing&#

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pp. 68-87

At first glance, the website LibraryThing (www.librarything. com) offers a means for readers to catalogue their book collections online. When a user enters a title, author, or ISBN into LibraryThing, the site retrieves the book’s bibliographic...

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4. Building a National Culture of Reading in the “New” South Africa

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pp. 88-107

Speaking to South African publishers and booksellers in 2002, Minister of Education Kader Asmal detailed the Department of Education’s “vision of a reading nation” and concluded that to achieve this vision, “we must create a culture...

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5. Literary Taste and List Culture in a Time of “Endless Choice”

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pp. 108-123

The ways in which we come to know, like, and choose books at the start of the twenty-first century suggest that a reconsideration of some established theoretical narratives about literary taste is merited. This chapter introduces...

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6. “Keepin’ it Real”: Incarcerated Women’s Readings of African American Urban Fiction

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pp. 124-141

Urban fiction—also known as gangsta lit, street lit, ghetto fiction, and hip-hop fiction—has taken the U.S. publishing world by storm. Bearing titles...

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7. Producing Meaning Through Interaction: Book Groups and the Social Context of Reading

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pp. 142-158

As the book historian Robert Darnton has observed: “The inner experience of ordinary readers may always elude us. But we should at least be able to reconstruct a good deal of the social context...

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8. Genre in the Marketplace: The Scene of Bookselling in Canada

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pp. 159-174

In a collection about reading, it might seem odd to discuss something that at first glance is not about reading at all: the culture of bookstores and the kinds of information they codify and embody. But before a book can be read, it must be acquired...

Part II: Methods

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9. New Literary Cultures: Mapping the Digital Networks of Toni Morrison

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pp. 177-202

As the publishing industry scrambles to adapt to the shifting realities of electronic texts and the decline of traditional models of authorship and criticism, reading practices are expanding to include new kinds of social exchange...

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10. Confounding the Literary: Temporal Problems in Hypertext

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pp. 203-216

Anumber of authors and critics have claimed that hypertext supersedes conventional printed literature. Moreover, theorists of hypertext have typically deprecated literary reading in print form in the belief that hypertext...

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11. Reading the Reading Experience: An Ethnomethodological Approach to “Booktalk”

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pp. 217-233

Interviews and focus groups have long been employed to research the ways in which literary and televisual texts are understood by their contemporary consumers,1 and the historical study of reading and of reception has often taken the same approach to written descriptions of reading...

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12. Mixing it up: Using Mixed Methods Research to Investigate Contemporary Cultures of Reading

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pp. 234-252

Understanding complex cultural phenomena such as the widely adopted “One Book, One Community” (OBOC) model demands a methodology that can generate a series of standpoints on the social, ideological, material...

About the Contributors

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pp. 253-254

Index

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pp. 255-262

Back Cover

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p. 263-263


E-ISBN-13: 9781613762004
E-ISBN-10: 1613762003
Print-ISBN-13: 9781558499522
Print-ISBN-10: 1558499520

Page Count: 288
Illustrations: 18 illus.
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Books and reading.
  • Reading interests.
  • Books and reading -- Technological innovations.
  • Book industries and trade -- Technological innovations.
  • Electronic publishing.
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