We are unable to display your institutional affiliation without JavaScript turned on.
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Find using OpenURL

Buy This Issue

The Materiality of Reading

From: New Literary History
Volume 37, Number 3, Summer 2006
pp. 607-629 | 10.1353/nlh.2006.0000


Reading and other meditative activities affect bodily functions and feelings because reading is a material practice. Its social forms derive from the materiality of language, a perspective derived from the Nominalist tradition that has been recently reread by Wittgenstein, Austin, Bakhtin, Whorf, Kristeva, Derrida, and others. In this sense of reading and interpretation, abstractions and generalizations are provisional, applicable in local and instrumental contexts rather than as scientific laws or permanent truths. To read is to describe and/or re-say, while explanation is understood to be a pragmatic action rather than a fixing of knowledge.

You must be logged in through an institution that subscribes to this journal or book to access the full text.


Shibboleth authentication is only available to registered institutions.

Project MUSE

For subscribing associations only.