Abstract

Abstract:

Alexia is a neurological syndrome in which a literate adult loses the ability to read as a result of a stroke or other traumatic brain injury. This essay examines over a century's worth of medical case studies and other narratives describing neurological reading deficits in order to determine what impact those deficits had on people's lives, well-being, and sense of identity in societies increasingly defined by the ability to read. The complex responses to what this essay calls postliteracy suggest the value of taking into account neurological differences when documenting the history of reading. Drawing on neurocognitive and disability studies, this essay directs attention to the testimonies of individuals with alexia to better understand what it feels like to lose the ability to read at a time when reading is figured as a crucial aspect of our identities; a signifier of status, privilege, and power; and even a prerequisite to leading a meaningful life.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6571
Print ISSN
0278-9671
Pages
pp. 251-277
Launched on MUSE
2019-12-28
Open Access
No
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