121 books about Books and reading and 6
start with H
Erin A. Smith Temple University Press, 2000 Library of Congress PS374.D4S65 2000 | Dewey Decimal 813.087209052
In the 1920s a distinctively American detective fiction emerged from the pages of pulp magazines. The “hard-boiled” stories published in Black Mask, Dime Detective, Detective Fiction Weekly, and Clues featured a new kind of hero and soon challenged the popularity of the British mysteries that held readers in thrall on both sides of the Atlantic. In Hard-Boiled Erin A. Smith examines the culture that produced and supported this form of detective story through the 1940s.
Relying on pulp magazine advertising, the memoirs of writers and publishers, Depression-era studies of adult reading habits, social and labor history, Smith offers an innovative account of how these popular stories were generated and read. She shows that although the work of pulp fiction authors like Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Erle Stanley Gardner have become “classics” of popular culture, the hard-boiled genre was dominated by hack writers paid by the word, not self-styled artists. Pulp magazine editors and writers emphasized a gritty realism in the new genre. Unlike the highly rational and respectable British protagonists (Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, for instance), tough-talking American private eyes relied as much on their fists as their brains as they made their way through tangled plotlines.
Casting working-class readers of pulp fiction as “poachers,” Smith argues that they understood these stories as parables about Taylorism, work, and manhood; as guides to navigating consumer culture; as sites for managing anxieties about working women. Engaged in re-creating white, male privilege for the modern, heterosocial world, pulp detective fiction shaped readers into consumers by selling them what they wanted to hear – stories about manly artisan-heroes who resisted encroaching commodity culture and the female consumers who came with it. Commenting on the genre’s staying power, Smith considers contemporary detective fiction by women, minority, and gay and lesbian writers.
Cultural history on a grand scale, this immensely readable book—the summation of decades of study by one of the world's great scholars of the book—is the story of writing from its very beginnings to its recent transformations through technology.
Traversing four millennia, Martin offers a chronicle of writing as a cultural system, a means of communication, and a history of technologies. He shows how the written word originated, how it spread, and how it figured in the evolution of civilization. Using as his center the role of printing in making the written way of thinking dominant, Martin examines the interactions of individuals and cultures to produce new forms of "writing" in the many senses of authorship, language rendition, and script.
Martin looks at how much the development of writing owed to practical necessity, and how much to religious and social systems of symbols. He describes the precursors to writing and reveals their place in early civilization as mnemonic devices in service of the spoken word. The tenacity of the oral tradition plays a surprisingly important part in this story, Martin notes, and even as late as the eighteenth century educated individuals were trained in classical rhetoric and preferred to rely on the arts of memory. Finally, Martin discusses the changes to writing wrought by the electronic revolution, offering invaluable insights into the influence these new technologies have had on children born into the computer age.
History of Reading
Steven Roger Fischer Reaktion Books, 2003 Library of Congress Z1003.F56 2003 | Dewey Decimal 028.909
Steven Roger Fischer’s fascinating book traces the complete story of reading from the time when symbol first became sign through to the electronic texts of the present day. Describing ancient forms of reading and the various modes that were necessary to read different writing systems and scripts, Fischer turns to Asia and the Americas and discusses the forms and developments of completely divergent dimensions of reading.
With the Middle Ages in Europe and the Middle East, innovative re-inventions of reading emerged – silent and liturgical reading; the custom of lectors; reading’s focus in general education – whereupon printing transformed society’s entire attitude to reading. Fischer charts the explosion of the book trade in this era, its increased audience and radically changed subject-matter; describes the emergence of broadsheets, newspapers and public readings; and traces the effect of new font designs on general legibility.
Fischer discusses society’s dedication to public literacy in the sweeping educational reforms of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and notes the appearance of free libraries, gender differences in reading matter, public advertising and the "forbidden" lists of Church, State and the unemancipated. Finally, he assesses the future, in which it is likely that read communication will soon exceed oral communication through the use of the personal computer and the internet, and looks at "visual language" and modern theories of how reading is processed in the human brain. Asking how the New Reader can reshape reading’s future, he suggests a radical new definition of what reading could be.
Moving across academic disciplines, geographical boundaries, and literary genres, Home and Harem examines how travel shaped ideas about culture and nation in nineteenth-century imperialist England and colonial India. Inderpal Grewal’s study of the narratives and discourses of travel reveals the ways in which the colonial encounter created linked yet distinct constructs of nation and gender and explores the impact of this encounter on both English and Indian men and women. Reworking colonial discourse studies to include both sides of the colonial divide, this work is also the first to discuss Indian women traveling West as well as English women touring the East. In her look at England, Grewal draws on nineteenth-century aesthetics, landscape art, and debates about women’s suffrage and working-class education to show how all social classes, not only the privileged, were educated and influenced by imperialist travel narratives. By examining diverse forms of Indian travel to the West and its colonies and focusing on forms of modernity offered by colonial notions of travel, she explores how Indian men and women adopted and appropriated aspects of European travel discourse, particularly the set of oppositions between self and other, East and West, home and abroad. Rather than being simply comparative, Home and Harem is a transnational cultural study of the interaction of ideas between two cultures. Addressing theoretical and methodological developments across a wide range of fields, this highly interdisciplinary work will interest scholars in the fields of postcolonial and cultural studies, feminist studies, English literature, South Asian studies, and comparative literature.
China’s sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw an unprecedented explosion in the production of woodblock-printed books. This volume considers what a wide range of late Ming books reveal about their readers’ ideas of a pleasurable private life, as well as their orientations toward early modernity and toward traditional Chinese sources of authority.
If racially offensive epithets are banned on CNN air time and in the pages of USA Today, Jonathan Arac asks, shouldn’t a fair hearing be given to those who protest their use in an eighth-grade classroom? Placing Mark Twain’s comic masterpiece, Huckleberry Finn, in the context of long-standing American debates about race and culture, Jonathan Arac has written a work of scholarship in the service of citizenship. Huckleberry Finn, Arac points out, is America’s most beloved book, assigned in schools more than any other work because it is considered both the “quintessential American novel” and “an important weapon against racism.” But when some parents, students, and teachers have condemned the book’s repeated use of the word “nigger,” their protests have been vehemently and often snidely countered by cultural authorities, whether in the universities or in the New York Times and the Washington Post. The paradoxical result, Arac contends, is to reinforce racist structures in our society and to make a sacred text of an important book that deserves thoughtful reading and criticism. Arac does not want to ban Huckleberry Finn, but to provide a context for fairer, fuller, and better-informed debates.
Arac shows how, as the Cold War began and the Civil Rights movement took hold, the American critics Lionel Trilling, Henry Nash Smith, and Leo Marx transformed the public image of Twain’s novel from a popular “boy’s book” to a central document of American culture. Huck’s feelings of brotherhood with the slave Jim, it was implied, represented all that was right and good in American culture and democracy. Drawing on writings by novelists, literary scholars, journalists, and historians, Arac revisits the era of the novel’s setting in the 1840s, the period in the 1880s when Twain wrote and published the book, and the post–World War II era, to refute many deeply entrenched assumptions about Huckleberry Finn and its place in cultural history, both nationally and globally. Encompassing discussion of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, Ralph Ellison, Archie Bunker, James Baldwin, Shelley Fisher Fishkin, and Mark Fuhrman, Arac’s book is trenchant, lucid, and timely.