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Reading and Disorder in Antebellum America
David M. Stewart
The Ohio State University Press, 2011
Historians of workingmen in the antebellum United States have long been preoccupied with labor politics and with the racism, nativism, and misogyny of their public culture. Reading and Disorder in Antebellum America expands our account of such men by asking questions about their social and bodily lives that are more discrete, yet still engaged with the economic forces that radically altered working life as the market revolution transformed a rural, agricultural nation into one that was commercial, industrial, and urban.
To advance a more capacious view of workingmen, David M. Stewart turns to reading, which is where many first encountered antebellum change as a material fact. Tapping sources from serial fiction, reform tracts, and children’s books, to diet, land use policy, and personal correspondence, Stewart contends that in helping retool a workforce of farmers and artisans to meet the disciplinary needs of capital, the period’s burgeoning new print culture industry developed rhetoric that used emotional coercion to affect conduct. This rhetoric also became the basis for recreational idioms that compensated for the pain of both coercive reading itself and the world such reading produced. In the space between the disciplinary and recreational lives of workingmen, Reading and Disorder revises how we understand them as performative subjects, which is to say, as cause and effect of changing antebellum times.

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Reading and Teaching Ancient Fiction
Jewish, Christian, and Greco-Roman Narratives
Sara R. Johnson
SBL Press, 2018

The third volume of research on ancient fiction

This volume includes essays presented in the Ancient Fiction and Early Christian and Jewish Narrative section of the Society of Biblical Literature. Contributors explore facets of ongoing research into the interplay of history, fiction, and narrative in ancient Greco-Roman, Jewish, and Christian texts. The essays examine the ways in which ancient authors in a variety of genre and cultural settings employed a range of narrative strategies to reflect on pressing contemporary issues, to shape community identity, or to provide moral and educational guidance for their readers. Not content merely to offer new insights, this volume also highlights strategies for integrating the fruits of this research into the university classroom and beyond.


  • Insight into the latest developments in ancient Mediterranean narrative
  • Exploration of how to use ancient texts to encourage students to examine assumptions about ancient gender and sexuality or to view familiar texts from a new perspective
  • Close readings of classical authors as well as canonical and noncanonical Jewish and Christian texts

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Reading and Writing in Babylon
Dominique Charpin
Harvard University Press, 2010

Over 5,000 years ago, the history of humanity radically changed direction when writing was invented in Sumer, the southern part of present-day Iraq. For the next three millennia, kings, aristocrats, and slaves all made intensive use of cuneiform script to document everything from royal archives to family records.

In engaging style, Dominique Charpin shows how hundreds of thousands of clay tablets testify to the history of an ancient society that communicated broadly through letters to gods, insightful commentary, and sales receipts. He includes a number of passages, offered in translation, that allow readers an illuminating glimpse into the lives of Babylonians. Charpin’s insightful overview discusses the methods and institutions used to teach reading and writing, the process of apprenticeship, the role of archives and libraries, and various types of literature, including epistolary exchanges and legal and religious writing.

The only book of its kind, Reading and Writing in Babylon introduces Mesopotamia as the birthplace of civilization, culture, and literature while addressing the technical side of writing and arguing for a much wider spread of literacy than is generally assumed. Charpin combines an intimate knowledge of cuneiform with a certain breadth of vision that allows this book to transcend a small circle of scholars. Though it will engage a broad general audience, this book also fills a critical academic gap and is certain to become the standard reference on the topic.


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Reading and Writing Instruction in the Twenty-First Century
Recovering and Transforming the Pedagogy of Robert Scholes
Ellen C. Carillo
Utah State University Press, 2021
Robert Scholes passed away on December 9, 2016, leaving behind an intellectual legacy focused broadly on textuality. Scholes’s work had a significant impact on a range of fields, including literary studies, composition and rhetoric, education, media studies, and the digital humanities, among others. In Reading and Writing Instruction in the Twenty-First Century contemporary scholars explore and extend the continued relevance of Scholes’s work for those in English and writing studies.
In this volume, Scholes’s scholarship is included alongside original essays, providing a resource for those considering everything from the place of the English major in the twenty-first century to best practices for helping students navigate misinformation and disinformation. Reading and Writing Instruction in the Twenty-First Century not only keeps Scholes’s legacy alive but carries it on through a commitment, in Scholes’s (1998) own words, to “offer our students . . . the cultural equipment they are going to need when they leave us.”
Angela Christie, Paul T. Corrigan, Lynée Lewis Gaillet, Doug Hesse, Alice S. Horning, Emily J. Isaacs, Christopher La Casse, Robert Lestón, Kelsey McNiff, Thomas P. Miller, Jessica Rivera-Mueller, Christian Smith, Kenny Smith

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Reading and Writing Lakota Language
Albert White Hat Sr
University of Utah Press, 1999
Based on extensive research and pedagogy on the Rosebud Reservation, this elementary grammar of Lakota, one of the three languages spoken by the Sioux nation, is the first written by a native Lakota speaker. It presents the Sicangu dialect using an orthography developed by Lakota in 1982 and which is now supplanting older systems provided by linguists and missionaries. This new approach represents a powerful act of self-determination for Indian education.

Though Reading and Writing the Lakota Language is thorough in its inclusion of conjugation, syntax, and sentence, it emphasizes vocabulary and pronunciation. Author Albert White Hat Sr. presents Lakota philosophy as it applies to specific grammar lessons. Moreover, he documents the impact of the acculturation process on the language, showing how Lakota evolved as a result of non-Indian influences. The textual example offers new information and interpretation of Lakota society, even to scholars who specialize n Plains cultures. Beyond language instruction, readers will value the book for its cultural insights, humorous stories, and its entertaining tone.

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Reading and Writing the Ambiente
Queer Sexualities in Latino, Latin American, and Spanish Culture
Susana Chávez-Silverman
University of Wisconsin Press, 2000

In this dynamic collection of essays, many leading literary scholars trace gay and lesbian themes in Latin American, Hispanic, and U.S. Latino literary and cultural texts. Reading and Writing the Ambiente is consciously ambitious and far-ranging, historically as well as geographically. It includes discussions of texts from as early as the seventeenth century to writings of the late twentieth century.
    Reading and Writing the Ambiente also underscores the ways in which lesbian and gay self-representation in Hispanic texts differs from representations in Anglo-American texts. The contributors demonstrate that—unlike the emphasis on the individual in Anglo- American sexual identity—Latino, Spanish, and Latin American sexual identity is produced in the surrounding culture and community, in the ambiente. As one of the first collections of its kind, Reading and Writing the Ambiente is expressive of the next wave of gay Hispanic and Latin scholarship.


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Reading as Collective Action
Text as Tactics
Nicholas Hengen Fox
University of Iowa Press, 2017
Literature is powerful. It offers respite. It provides access to beauty and horror, to new places, new people, and new ideas. It can, as the phrase goes, change your life. Good things, all of them. But also somewhat limited goods: they’re all pretty passive, pretty private—you might even say self-centered.

Reading as Collective Action shifts our focus outward, to another of literature’s powers: the power to reshape our world in very public, very active ways. In this book, you will encounter readers who criticized the Bush administration’s war on terror by republishing poems by writers ranging from Shakespeare to Amiri Baraka everywhere from lampposts to the New York Times. You will read about people in Michigan and Tennessee, who leveraged a community reading program on John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath to organize support for those in need during the Great Recession and to engage with their neighbors about immigration. You will meet a pair of students who took to public transit to talk with strangers about working-class literature and a trio who created a literary website that reclaimed the working-class history of the Pacific Northwest.

This book challenges dominant academic modes of reading. For adherents of the “civic turn,” it suggests how we can create more politically effective forms of service learning and community engagement grounded in a commitment to tactical, grassroots actions. Whether you’re a social worker or a student, a zine-maker, a librarian, a professor, or just a passionate reader with a desire to better your community, this book shows that when we read texts as tactics, “that book changed my life” can become “that book changed our lives.” 

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Reading as Therapy
What Contemporary Fiction Does for Middle-Class Americans
Timothy Aubry
University of Iowa Press, 2011

@font-face { font-family: "Myriad Pro";}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }Why do Americans read contemporary fiction? This question seems simple, but is it? Do Americans read for the purpose of aesthetic appreciation? To satisfy their own insatiable intellectual curiosities? While other forms of media have come to monopolize consumers’ leisure time, in the past two decades book clubs have proliferated, Amazon has sponsored thriving online discussions, Oprah Winfrey has inspired millions of viewers to read both contemporary works and classics, and novels have retained their devoted following within middlebrow communities.

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. Aubry persuasively makes the case that contemporary literature’s persistent appeal depends upon its capacity to perform a therapeutic function.

Reading as Therapy 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. 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. Reading as Therapy, by contrast, underscores the varied ideological effects that therapeutic culture can foster.

To uncover the many unpredictable ways in which contemporary literature answers the psychological needs of its readers, Aubry considers several different venues of reader-response—including Oprah’s Book Club and Amazon customer reviews—the promotional strategies of publishing houses, and a variety of contemporary texts, ranging from Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner to Anita Shreve’s The Pilot’s Wife to David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. 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.


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Reading in a Digital Age
David M. Durant
Against the Grain, LLC, 2017
Charleston Briefings: Trending Topics for Information Professionals is a thought-provoking series of brief books concerning innovation in the sphere of libraries, publishing, and technology in scholarly communication. The briefings, growing out of the vital conversations characteristic of the Charleston Conference and Against the Grain, will offer valuable insights into the trends shaping our professional lives and the institutions in which we work.
The Charleston Briefings are written by authorities who provide an effective, readable overview of their topics—not an academic monograph. The intended audience is busy nonspecialist readers who want to be informed concerning important issues in our industry in an accessible and timely manner.

How is reading changing in the digital environment? How will it continue to change? Are we headed for an all- digital future? Or does print still have a place in the reading environment? Does format matter? What do readers tell us they want? This brief monograph offers librarians, publishers, vendors, and others an overview of these key issues as well as advice on how their institutions should approach the print versus digital controversy.

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Reading in the Wilderness
Private Devotion and Public Performance in Late Medieval England
Jessica Brantley
University of Chicago Press, 2007
Just as twenty-first-century technologies like blogs and wikis have transformed the once private act of reading into a public enterprise, devotional reading experiences in the Middle Ages were dependent upon an oscillation between the solitary and the communal. In Reading in the Wilderness, Jessica Brantley uses tools from both literary criticism and art history to illuminate Additional MS 37049, an illustrated Carthusian miscellany housed in the British Library. This revealing artifact, Brantley argues, closes the gap between group spectatorship and private study in late medieval England.

Drawing on the work of W. J. T. Mitchell, Michael Camille, and others working at the image-text crossroads, Reading in the Wilderness addresses the manuscript’s texts and illustrations to examine connections between reading and performance within the solitary monk’s cell and also outside. Brantley reimagines the medieval codex as a site where the meanings of images and words are performed, both publicly and privately, in the act of reading.

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Reading in These Times
Purposes and Practices of Minoritized Biblical Criticism
Tat-siong Benny Liew
SBL Press, 2024
In this follow-up to They Were All Together in One Place? (2009) and Reading Biblical Texts Together (2022), biblical scholars from different racial/ethnic minoritized communities move beyond defining and pursing cross-cultural interpretation to investigating how spatial-geographical and temporal-historical locations affect the purposes and practices of minoritized biblical criticism today. Through an examination of a range of contemporary issues from HIV/AIDS to US immigration policy, contributors establish that how and why they engage the Bible are the result of the intersection of social and cultural factors. Contributors Cheryl B. Anderson, Hector Avalos†, Jacqueline M. Hidalgo, Tat-siong Benny Liew, Yii-Jan Lin, Vanessa Lovelace, Francisco Lozada Jr., Roger S. Nam, Aliou Cissé Niang, Hugh R. Page Jr., Jean-Pierre Ruiz, Fernando F. Segovia, Abraham Smith, and Vincent L. Wimbush demonstrate that interpretations carry broader implications for society and that scholars have ethical and political responsibilities to their communities and to the world.

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Reading in Time
Emily Dickinson in the Nineteenth Century
Cristanne Miller
University of Massachusetts Press, 2012
This book provides new information about Emily Dickinson as a writer and new ways of situating this poet in relation to nineteenth-century literary culture, examining how we read her poetry and how she was reading the poetry of her own day. Cristanne Miller argues both that Dickinson's poetry is formally far closer to the verse of her day than generally imagined and that Dickinson wrote, circulated, and retained poems differently before and after 1865. Many current conceptions of Dickinson are based on her late poetic practice. Such conceptions, Miller contends, are inaccurate for the time when she wrote the great majority of her poems.

Before 1865, Dickinson at least ambivalently considered publication, circulated relatively few poems, and saved almost everything she wrote in organized booklets. After this date, she wrote far fewer poems, circulated many poems without retaining them, and took less interest in formally preserving her work. Yet, Miller argues, even when circulating relatively few poems, Dickinson was vitally engaged with the literary and political culture of her day and, in effect, wrote to her contemporaries. Unlike previous accounts placing Dickinson in her era, Reading in Time demonstrates the extent to which formal properties of her poems borrow from the short-lined verse she read in schoolbooks, periodicals, and single-authored volumes. Miller presents Dickinson's writing in relation to contemporary experiments with the lyric, the ballad, and free verse, explores her responses to American Orientalism, presents the dramatic lyric as one of her preferred modes for responding to the Civil War, and gives us new ways to understand the patterns of her composition and practice of poetry.

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Reading in Tudor England
Eugene R. Kintgen
University of Pittsburgh Press, 1996
Readers in the sixteenth century read (that is, interpreted) texts quite differently from the way contemporary readers do; they were trained to notice different aspects of a text and to process them differently.

Using educational works of Erasmus, Ascham, and others, commentaries on literary works, various kinds of religious guides and homilies, and self-improvement books, Kintgen has found specific evidence of these differences and makes imaginative use of it to draw fascinating and convincing conclusions about the art and practice of reading.  Kintgen ends by situating the book within literary theory, cognitive science, and literary studies.

Among the writers covered are Gabriel Harvey, E. K. (the commentator on The Shepheardes Calendar), Sir John Harrington, George Gascoigne, George Puttenham, Thomas Blundeville, and Angel Day.

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A Reading of Dante's Inferno
Wallace Fowlie
University of Chicago Press, 1981
This work is a guide to the reading of Dante's great poem, intended for the use of students and laymen, particularly those who are approaching the Inferno for the first time. While carefully pointing out the uniqueness, tone, and color of each of Dante's thirty-four cantos, Fowlie never loses sight of the continuity of the poet's discourse. Each canto is related thematically to others, and the rich web of symbols is displayed and disentangled as the poem's unity, patterns, and structures are revealed.
What particularly distinguishes Wallace Fowlie's reading of the Inferno is his emphasis on both the timelessness and the timeliness of Dante's masterpiece. By underlining the archetypal elements in the poem and drawing parallels to contemporary literature, Fowlie has brought Dante and his characters much closer to modern readers.


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A Reading of Mansfield Park
An Essay in Critical Synthesis
Avrom Fleishman
University of Minnesota Press, 1967
A Reading of Mansfield Park was first published in 1967.Jane Austen’s novel Mansfield Park has been examined in a number of scholarly contexts and has been vigorously debated according to divergent ethical and political views. In this new study of the work, Professor Fleishman provides a full and unified reading of the novel by employing methods and synthesizing insights drawn from several fields of knowledge - history and sociology, psychology, and cultural anthropology. By combining several perspectives within a single study, he attempts to avoid the pitfalls of partial readings.After an introductory discussion of his method in relation to current trends in literary criticism, the author reviews past criticism of Mansfield Park. In the chapters which follow he discusses the novel’s historical background and its response to social, political, and economic issues of the day; the psychological structure of the characters and its bearing on an ethical evaluation of them; and the mythological parallels which, he finds, impart a sound framework and universal significance to the plot. In the final chapter he places the work within the tradition of English fiction, in an effort to estimate its enduring value.

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Reading on the Middle Border
The Culture of Print in Late-Nineteenth-Century Osage, Iowa
Christine Pawley
University of Massachusetts Press, 2009
Reading is an everyday activity so taken for granted that it seems virtually invisible. In spite of its ubiquity in modern life (or perhaps because of its familiarity), scholars have only recently begun paying attention to its development as a social practice. During the nineteenth century, an evolving print culture made reading an essential part of Americans' daily routines. To date, the history of American reading practices has tended to focus on middle-class white people living in northeastern cities before 1876. Reading on the Middle Border shifts the focus to the Midwest and broadens the base of economic classes studied.

Christine Pawley investigates the use of print by "ordinary" Americans in the small, rural community of Osage, Iowa—the town that shaped Hamlin Garland—analyzing primary source material on education, religious life, a reading club, and business affairs. A major section of her study focuses on the public library, an institution that provides a valuable window into the reading practices of men and women of various ages, classes, ethnicities, and religions. An extensive database of library circulation and accessions information, combined with federal and state census data, sheds light on the elusive issue of "Who read what?"

Pawley explores the ways print confirmed or challenged people's economic, social, and religious world, and asks what values print expressed or confronted. She also raises questions relating to modes and contexts of reading, distinguishing between groups and individuals. The picture of print in Osage is complex and defies reduction, but by placing print in a community context and viewing printed materials as an expression of activities, not mere artifacts, Pawley enhances our understanding of the role of reading in American culture.

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Reading Palestine
Printing and Literacy, 1900-1948
By Ami Ayalon
University of Texas Press, 2004

Prior to the twentieth century, Arab society in Palestine was predominantly illiterate, with most social and political activities conducted through oral communication. There were no printing presses, no book or periodical production, and no written signs in public places. But a groundswell of change rapidly raised the region's literacy rates, a fascinating transformation explored for the first time in Reading Palestine.

Addressing an exciting aspect of Middle Eastern history as well as the power of the printed word itself, Reading Palestine describes how this hurried process intensified the role of literacy in every sphere of community life. Ami Ayalon examines Palestine's development of a modern educational system in conjunction with the emergence of a print industry, libraries and reading clubs, and the impact of print media on urban and rural populations. Drawn from extensive archival sources, official reports, autobiographies, and a rich trove of early Palestinian journalism, Reading Palestine provides crucial insight into the dynamic rise of literacy that revolutionized the way Palestinians navigated turbulent political waters.


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Reading, Research, And Writing
Teaching Information
Mary Snyder Broussard
Assoc of College & Research Libraries, 2017

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Reading, 'Riting, and Reconstruction
The Education of Freedmen in the South, 1861-1870
Robert C. Morris
University of Chicago Press, 1981

This study of education for freedmen following Emancipation is the definitive treatment of the subject. Employing a wide range of sources, Robert C. Morris examines the organizations that staffed and managed black schools in the South, with particular attention paid to the activities of the Freedman’s Bureau. He looks as well at those who came to teach, a diverse group—white, black, Northern, Southern—and at the curricula and textbooks they used. While giving special emphasis to the Freedmen’s Bureau school program, Morris places the freedmen’s educational movement fully in its nineteenth-century context, relating it both to the antislavery crusade that preceded it and to the conservative era of race relations that followed.


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Reading the Bible in Ancient Traditions and Modern Editions
Studies in Memory of Peter W. Flint
Andrew B. Perrin
SBL Press, 2017

A collection of essays commemorating the career contributions of Peter W. Flint

An international group of scholars specializing in various disciplines of biblical studies—Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Second Temple Judaism, and Christian origins—present twenty-seven new contributions that commemorate the career of Peter W. Flint (1951–2016). Each essay interacts with and gives fresh insight into a field shaped by Professor Flint’s life work. Part 1 explores the interplay between text-critical methods, the growth and formation of the Hebrew Scriptures, and the making of modern critical editions. Part 2 maps dynamics of scriptural interpretation and reception in ancient Jewish and Christian literatures of the Second Temple period.


  • Essays that assess the state of the field and reflect on the methods, aims, and best practices for textual criticism and the making of modern critical text editions
  • Demonstrations of how the processes of scriptural composition, transmission, and reception converge and may be studied together for mutual benefit
  • Clarification of the state/forms of scripture in antiquity and how scripture was extended, rewritten, and recontextualized by ancient Jewish and Christian scribes and communities

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Reading the Book of Nature
How Eight Best Sellers Reconnected Christianity and the Sciences on the Eve of the Victorian Age
Jonathan R. Topham
University of Chicago Press, 2022
A powerful reimagining of the world in which a young Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution. 

When Charles Darwin returned to Britain from the Beagle voyage in 1836, the most talked-about scientific books of the day were the Bridgewater Treatises. This series of eight works was funded by a bequest of the last Earl of Bridgewater and written by leading men of science appointed by the president of the Royal Society to explore "the Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God, as manifested in the Creation." Securing public attention beyond all expectations, the series offered Darwin’s generation a range of approaches to one of the great questions of the age: how to incorporate the newly emerging disciplinary sciences into Britain’s overwhelmingly Christian culture.  
Drawing on a wealth of archival and published sources, including many unexplored by historians, Jonathan R. Topham examines how and to what extent the series contributed to a sense of congruence between Christianity and the sciences in the generation before the fabled Victorian conflict between science and religion. Building on the distinctive insights of book history and paying close attention to the production, circulation, and use of the books, Topham offers new perspectives on early Victorian science and the subject of science and religion as a whole.  

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Reading the Book of Revelation
A Resource for Students
David L. Barr
SBL Press, 2003
The Apocalypse lends itself to multivalent readings, and this volume fills a gap for students and scholars by discussing how different methods apply to readings. Using historical, literary, and social analysis in combination with strategies such as social-conflict theory, philosophy, women’s studies, ethics, history of religions, postcolonial studies, and popular culture, the essays in this volume focus on specific texts and show not only how each helps interpret the text but also how diverse methods produce divergent readings of a text. Developed as a classroom resource for undergraduates, this work will also prove useful to graduate students, religious leaders, and others who wish to explore how methods shape our understandings of various texts, including Revelation.

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Reading the Dead Sea Scrolls
Essays in Method
George J. Brooke
SBL Press, 2013
The Dead Sea Scrolls, which have long captured the public imagination, are now all available in principal editions and accessible translations. This book addresses the next stage in their analysis by raising questions about how they should be read and studied. The essays collected here illustrate two approaches. First, some essays argue that traditional methods of studying ancient texts need to be refined and broadened in the light of the Scrolls. The volume thus contains studies on text criticism, literary traditions, lexicography, historiography, and theology. Second, the book also argues that innovative methods of study, applied fruitfully in other areas, now also need to be applied to the Scrolls, such as studies that consider the relevance for the Scrolls of deviance theory, cultural memory, hypertextuality, intertextuality, genre theory, spatial analysis, and psychology. Many of the examples in these studies relate to how authoritative scripture was handled and appropriated by the groups that gathered the Scrolls together in the caves at and near Qumran, so some of the same texts are analyzed from several different perspectives.

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Reading the Difficulties
Dialogues with Contemporary American Innovative Poetry
Thomas Fink
University of Alabama Press, 2013
The bold essays that make up Reading the Difficulties offer case studies in and strategies for reading innovative poetry.

Definitions of what constitutes innovative poetry are innumerable and are offered from every quarter. Some critics and poets argue that innovative poetry concerns free association (John Ashbery), others that experimental poetry is a “re-staging” of language (Bruce Andrews) or a syntactic and cognitive break with the past (Ron Silliman and Lyn Hejinian). The tenets of new poetry abound.

But what of the new reading that such poetry demands? Essays in Reading the Difficulties ask what kinds of stances allow readers to interact with verse that deliberately removes many of the comfortable cues to comprehension—poetry that is frequently nonnarrative, nonrepresentational, and indeterminate in subject, theme, or message.

Some essays in Thomas Fink and Judith Halden-Sullivan’s collection address issues of reader reception and the way specific stances toward reading support or complement the aesthetic of each poet. Others suggest how we can be open readers, how innovative poetic texts change the very nature of reader and reading, and how critical language can capture this metamorphosis. Some contributors consider how the reader changes innovative poetry, what language reveals about this interaction, which new reading strategies unfold for the audiences of innovative verse, and what questions readers should ask of innovative verse and of events and experiences that we might bring to reading it.

Charles Bernstein / Carrie Conners / Thomas Fink /
Kristen Gallagher / Judith Halden-Sullivan / Paolo Javier /
Burt Kimmelman / Hank Lazer / Jessica Lewis Luck /
Stephen Paul Miller / Sheila E. Murphy / Elizabeth Robinson /
Christopher Schmidt / Eileen R. Tabios

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Reading the Early Republic
Robert A. Ferguson
Harvard University Press, 2004

Reading the Early Republic focuses attention on the forgotten dynamism of thought in the founding era. In every case, the documents, novels, pamphlets, sermons, journals, and slave narratives of the early American nation are richer and more intricate than modern readers have perceived.

Rebellion, slavery, and treason--the mingled stories of the Revolution--still haunt national thought. Robert Ferguson shows that the legacy that made the country remains the idea of what it is still trying to become. He cuts through the pervading nostalgia about national beginnings to recapture the manic-depressive tones of its first expression. He also has much to say about the reconfiguration of charity in American life, the vital role of the classical ideal in projecting an unthinkable continental republic, the first manipulations of the independent American woman, and the troubled integration of civic and commercial understandings in the original claims of prosperity as national virtue.

Reading the Early Republic uses the living textual tradition against history to prove its case. The first formative writings are more than sacred artifacts. They remain the touchstones of the durable promise and the problems in republican thought


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Reading the East India Company 1720-1840
Colonial Currencies of Gender
Betty Joseph
University of Chicago Press, 2003
In Reading the East India Company, Betty Joseph offers an innovative account of how archives—and the practice of archiving—shaped colonial ideologies in Britain and British-controlled India during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Drawing on the British East India Company's records as well as novels, memoirs, portraiture and guidebooks, Joseph shows how the company's economic and archival practices intersected to produce colonial "fictions" or "truth-effects" that strictly governed class and gender roles—in effect creating a "grammar of power" that kept the far-flung empire intact. And while women were often excluded from this archive, Joseph finds that we can still hear their voices at certain key historical junctures. Attending to these voices, Joseph illustrates how the writing of history belongs not only to the colonial project set forth by British men, but also to the agendas and mechanisms of agency—of colonized Indian, as well as European women. In the process, she makes a valuable and lasting contribution to gender studies, postcolonial theory, and the history of South Asia.

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Reading the Epistle of James
A Resource for Students
Eric F. Mason
SBL Press, 2019

Foundational essays for students of New Testament epistles

This accessible introduction to contemporary scholarship on the Epistle of James begins with chapters that consider possible sources and backgrounds used by the author of James, the genre and literary structure of the book, and its major theological themes. Building on this foundation, subsequent chapters examine James through social-scientific readings, perspectives of Latin American immigrants and the marginalized, and major recent developments in textual criticism. The final chapters in the volume address the relationship between the epistle and the historical James, reception of the epistle in the early church, and major Catholic and Protestant interpretations of the book in the Reformation era. The contributions in this volume distill a range of important issues for readers undertaking a serious study of this letter for the first time.


  • An introduction to contemporary scholarship on this important but often-overlooked text
  • Clear explanations of all technical terms and themes
  • In-depth discussions of the importance of Jewish Scripture and interpretative traditions, Greco-Roman philosophy and Jewish wisdom motifs, and biblical perspectives on justice, wealth, and poverty

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Reading the Epistle to the Hebrews
Eric F. Mason
SBL Press, 2011
This volume, designed for classroom use, reflects contemporary trends in the study of an important and complex biblical text. Essays address major interpretive issues and emphasize the importance of interpreting Hebrews in light of its ancient Jewish, Christian, and Greco-Roman contexts.

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Reading the Fascicles of Emily Dickinson
Dwelling in Possibilities
The Ohio State University Press, 2020
Heginbotham’s book focuses on Emily Dickinson’s work as a deliberate writer and editor. The fascicles were forty small portfolios of her poems written between 1856 and 1864, composed on four to seven stationery sheets, folded, stacked, and sewn together with twine. What revelations might come from reading her poems in her own context? Are they simply “scrapbooks,” as some claim, or are they evidence of conscious, canny editing? Read in their original places, each lyric becomes different—and more interesting—than when read in isolation.

We cannot know why Dickinson compiled the books or what she thought of them, but we can observe what she left in them. What she left is visible only by noting the way the poem answers in a dialogue across the pages, the way lines spilling onto a second page introduce the next poem, the way openings suggest image clusters so that each book has its own network of concerns and language—not a story or philosophical preachment but an aesthetic wholeness.

This book is the first to demonstrate that Dickinson’s poetic and philosophical creativity is most startling when the reader observes the individual lyric in the poet’s own, and only, context for them. For teacher, student, scholar, and poetry lover, Heginbotham creates an important new framework for understanding one of the most complex, clever, and profound U.S. poets.

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Reading the Figural, or, Philosophy after the New Media
D. N. Rodowick
Duke University Press, 2001
In Reading the Figural, or, Philosophy after the New Media D. N. Rodowick applies the concept of “the figural” to a variety of philosophical and aesthetic issues. Inspired by the aesthetic philosophy of Jean-François Lyotard, the figural defines a semiotic regime where the distinction between linguistic and plastic representation breaks down. This opposition, which has been the philosophical foundation of aesthetics since the eighteenth century, has been explicitly challenged by the new electronic, televisual, and digital media. Rodowick—one of the foremost film theorists writing today—contemplates this challenge, describing and critiquing the new regime of signs and new ways of thinking that such media have inaugurated.
To fully comprehend the emergence of the figural requires a genealogical critique of the aesthetic, Rodowick claims. Seeking allies in this effort to deconstruct the opposition of word and image and to create new concepts for comprehending the figural, he journeys through a range of philosophical writings: Thierry Kuntzel and Marie-Claire Ropars-Wuilleumier on film theory; Jacques Derrida on the deconstruction of the aesthetic; Siegfried Kracauer and Walter Benjamin on the historical image as a utopian force in photography and film; and Gilles Deleuze and Michel Foucault on the emergence of the figural as both a semiotic regime and a new stratagem of power coincident with the appearance of digital phenomena and of societies of control.
Scholars of philosophy, film theory, cultural criticism, new media, and art history will be interested in the original and sophisticated insights found in this book.


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Reading the Illegible
Rainer Rumold
Northwestern University Press, 2003
A poet takes another's text, excises this, prints over that, cancels, erases, rearranges, defaces--and generally renders the original unreadable, at least in its original terms. What twentieth-century writers and artists have meant by such appropriations and violations, and how the "illegible" results are to be read, is the subject Craig Dworkin takes up in this ambitious work.

In his scrutiny of selected works, and with reference to a rich variety of textual materials--from popular and scientific texts to visual art, political and cultural theories, and experimental films--Dworkin proposes a new way of apprehending the radical formalism of so-called unreadable texts. Dworkin unveils what he describes as "the politics of the poem"--what is signified by its form, enacted by its structures, and implicit in the philosophy of language; how it positions its reader; and other questions relating to the poem as material object. In doing so, he exposes the mechanics and function of truly radical formalism as a practice that move beyond aesthetic considerations into the realms of politics and ideology. Reading the Illegible asks us to reconsider poetry as a physical act, and helps us to see how the range of a text's linguistic and political maneuvers depends to a great extent on the material conditions of reading and writing as well as the mechanics of reproduction.

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Reading the Illegible
Indigenous Writing and the Limits of Colonial Hegemony in the Andes
Laura Leon Llerena
University of Arizona Press, 2023
Reading the Illegible examines the history of alphabetic writing in early colonial Peru, deconstructing the conventional notion of literacy as a weapon of the colonizer. This book develops the concept of legibility, which allows for an in-depth analysis of coexisting Andean and non-Native media. The book discusses the stories surrounding the creation of the Huarochirí Manuscript (c. 1598–1608), the only surviving book-length text written by Indigenous people in Quechua in the early colonial period. The manuscript has been deemed “untranslatable in all the usual senses,” but scholar Laura Leon Llerena argues that it offers an important window into the meaning of legibility.

The concept of legibility allows us to reconsider this unique manuscript within the intertwined histories of literacy, knowledge, and colonialism. Reading the Illegible shows that the anonymous author(s) of the Huarochirí Manuscript, along with two contemporaneous Andean-authored texts by Joan de Santa Cruz Pachacuti and Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, rewrote the history of writing and the notion of Christianity by deploying the colonizers’ technology of alphabetic writing.

Reading the Illegible weaves together the story of the peoples, places, objects, and media that surrounded the creation of the anonymous Huarochirí Manuscript to demonstrate how Andean people endowed the European technology of writing with a new social role in the context of a multimedia society.

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Reading the Literatures of Asian America
Shirley Geok-lin Lim
Temple University Press, 1992
With the recent proliferation of critically acclaimed literature by Asian American writers, this groundbreaking collection of essays provides a unique resource for students, scholars, and the general reading public. The homogeneity implied by the term "Asian American" is replaced in this volume with the rich diversity of highly disparate peoples. Languages, religions, races and cultural and national backgrounds. Examining a century of Asian American literature from the late 19th century up through the contemporary experimental drama of Ping Chong, the contributors address the work of writers with Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Filipino, East Indian, and Pacific Island ancestry. Asian Canadian and Hawaiian literature are also considered.

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Reading the Middle Generation Anew
Culture, Community, and Form in Twentieth-Century American Poetry
Eric Haralson
University of Iowa Press, 2006
Ten original essays by advanced scholars and well-published poets address the middle generation of American poets, including the familiar—Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, Randall Jarrell, and John Berryman—and various important contemporaries: Delmore Schwartz, Theodore Roethke, Robert Hayden, and Lorine Niedecker. This was a famously troubled cohort of writers, for reasons both personal and cultural, and collectively their poems give us powerful, moving insights into American social life in the transforming decades of the 1940s through the 1960s.

In addition to having worked during the broad middle of the last century, these poets constitute the center of twentieth-century American poetry in the larger sense, refuting invidious connotations of “middle” as coming after the great moderns and being superseded by a proliferating postmodern experimentation. This middle generation mediates the so-called American century and its prodigious body of poetry, even as it complicates historical and aesthetic categorizations.

Taking diverse formal and thematic angles on these poets—deconstructionist, biographical-historical, and more formalist accounts—this book re-examines their between-ness and ambivalence: their various positionings and repositionings in aesthetic, political, and personal matters. The essays study the interplay between these writers and such shifting formations as religious discourse, consumerism, militarism and war, the ideology of America as “nature’s nation,” and U.S. race relations and ethnic conflicts. Reading the Middle Generation Anew also shows the legacy of the middle generation, the ways in which their lives and writings continue to be a shaping force in American poetry. This fresh and invigorating collection will be of great interest to literary scholars and poets.

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Reading the Mountains of Home
John Elder
Harvard University Press, 1998

Small farms once occupied the heights that John Elder calls home, but now only a few cellar holes and tumbled stone walls remain among the dense stands of maple, beech, and hemlocks on these Vermont hills. Reading the Mountains of Homeis a journey into these verdant reaches where in the last century humans tried their hand and where bear and moose now find shelter. As John Elder is our guide, so Robert Frost is Elder's companion, his great poem "Directive" seeing us through a landscape in which nature and literature, loss and recovery, are inextricably joined.

Over the course of a year, Elder takes us on his hikes through the forested uplands between South Mountain and North Mountain, reflecting on the forces of nature, from the descent of the glaciers to the rush of the New Haven River, that shaped a plateau for his village of Bristol; and on the human will that denuded and farmed and abandoned the mountains so many years ago. His forays wind through the flinty relics of nineteenth-century homesteads and Abenaki settlements, leading to meditations on both human failure and the possibility for deeper communion with the land and others.

An exploration of the body and soul of a place, an interpretive map of its natural and literary life, Reading the Mountains of Home strikes a moving balance between the pressures of civilization and the attraction of wilderness. It is a beautiful work of nature writing in which human nature finds its place, where the reader is invited to follow the last line of Frost's "Directive," to "Drink and be whole again beyond confusion."


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Reading the Rabbit
Explorations in Warner Bros. Animation
Sandler, Kevin S
Rutgers University Press, 1998

"A wide-ranging inquiry into an important area of contemporary scholarly interest, and also an engaging, well written and intelligently conceived collection." -Eric Smoodin, author of Animating Culture: Hollywood Cartoons From the Sound Era

Despite the success of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and their Looney cohorts, Warner Bros. animation worked in the shadow of Disney for many years. The past ten years have seen a resurgence in Warner Bros. animation as they produce new Bugs Bunny cartoons and theatrical features like Space Jam as well as television shows like Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs. While Disney's animation plays it safe and mirrors traditional cinema stories, Warner Bros. is known for a more original and even anarchistic style of narration, a willingness to take risks in story construction, a fearlessness in crossing gender lines with its characters, and a freedom in breaking boundaries. This collection of essays looks at the history of Warner Bros. animation, compares and contrasts the two studios, charts the rise and fall of creativity and daring at Warner's, and analyzes the ways in which the studio was for a time transgressive in its treatment of class, race, and gender. It reveals how safety and commercialization have, in the end, triumphed at Warner Bros. just as they much earlier conquered Disney.

The book also discusses fan parodies of Warner Bros. animation on the Internet today, the Bugs Bunny cross-dressing cartoons, cartoons that were censored by the studio, and the merchandising and licensing strategies of the Warner Bros. studio stores. Contributors are Donald Crafton, Ben Fraser, Michael Frierson, Norman M. Klein, Terry Lindvall, Bill Mikulak, Barry Putterman, Kevin S. Sandler, Hank Sartin, Linda Simensky, Kirsten Moana Thompson, Gene Walz, and Timothy R. White.


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Reading the Renaissance
Black Women's Literary Reception and Taste in Chicago, 1932-1953
Mary I. Unger
University of Massachusetts Press, 2025

From 1932 to 1953, during the Black Chicago Renaissance, numerous literary events were held within and for the city’s Black community. In book clubs, public forums, print reviews, little magazines, local programming, and other public venues, Black women in particular debated the role of literature in racial uplift efforts, set literary standards, and acted as community gatekeepers for cultural production during a time known as the Black Chicago Renaissance. Through these inspiring efforts, a mix of publishers, well-known authors, and everyday readers significantly fostered a robust literary culture in the Windy City.

Reading the Renaissance constructs a reception history of the Black women who read and reviewed, published and promoted, and collected and curated literature of the era. Mary Unger interprets how local figures such as Vivian G. Harsh, Ora Morrow, Gwendolyn Brooks, Alice Browning, Fern Gayden, and Margaret Walker cultivated particular literary tastes through collective acts of reading and reception. She does so by recovering a network of readers, book clubs, literary magazines, civic programs, and book businesses that Black women created, led, and transformed during the early 1930s through the early 1950s in Bronzeville, Chicago’s predominantly Black South Side neighborhood.

This illuminating work includes close readings of texts alongside letters, scrapbooks, meeting minutes, reviews, and other ephemera of local reading practices to show how Black women facilitated diverse strategies of reading while instructing community members how to engage a variety of print cultures at the time. Unger demonstrates how Black women readers influenced individual authors as well as the norms and expectations of African American literature more broadly, becoming important (yet too often overlooked) players in American literary history.


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Reading the River
A Voyage Down the Yukon
John Hildebrand
University of Wisconsin Press, 1997

“John Hildebrand sets out in a canoe . . . to explore the great riverway of northwestern Canada and Alaska. . . . The geography is closely rendered and the characters especially sharply drawn. The country is filled with mad dropouts at river fish camps, good-hearted girls in the towns, sullen natives in tumbledown villages, cranky old-timers, terrible drunks and worse moralizers who live off the wild landscape and its abundant resources. . . . This is a fine work, and Hildebrand is a fine writer.”—Charles E. Little, Wilderness


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Reading the Room
A Bookseller's Tale
Paul Yamazaki
Prickly Paradigm Press, 2024
Reading the Room is Paul Yamazaki's love letter to the work of bookselling and an engaged life of the mind.

Over twenty-four hours, Paul Yamazaki leads us through the stacks of storied City Lights Booksellers in San Francisco; the care and prowess of his approach to book buying; his upbringing in a Japanese American family in Southern California and moving to San Francisco at the height of revolutionary foment; working with legendary figures in the book publishing industry like Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Sonny Mehta, and others; and his vision for the future of bookselling. Navigating building trust with readers and nurturing relationships across the literary industry, Yamazaki testifies to the value of generosity, sharing knowledge, and dialogue in a life devoted to books.

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Reading the Shape of Nature
Comparative Zoology at the Agassiz Museum
Mary P. Winsor
University of Chicago Press, 1991
Reading the Shape of Nature vividly recounts the turbulent early history of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard and the contrasting careers of its founder Louis Agassiz and his son Alexander. Through the story of this institution and the individuals who formed it, Mary P. Winsor explores the conflicting forces that shaped systematics in the second half of the nineteenth century. Debates over the philosophical foundations of classification, details of taxonomic research, the young institution's financial struggles, and the personalities of the men most deeply involved are all brought to life.

In 1859, Louis Agassiz established the Museum of Comparative Zoology to house research on the ideal types that he believed were embodied in all living forms. Agassiz's vision arose from his insistence that the order inherent in the diversity of life reflected divine creation, not organic evolution. But the mortar of the new museum had scarcely dried when Darwin's Origin was published. By Louis Agassiz's death in 1873, even his former students, including his son Alexander, had defected to the evolutionist camp. Alexander, a self-made millionaire, succeeded his father as director and introduced a significantly different agenda for the museum.

To trace Louis and Alexander's arguments and the style of science they established at the museum, Winsor uses many fascinating examples that even zoologists may find unfamiliar. The locus of all this activity, the museum building itself, tells its own story through a wonderful series of archival photographs.

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Reading the Skies
A Cultural History of English Weather, 1650-1820
Vladimir Jankovic
University of Chicago Press, 2001
From the time of Aristotle until the late eighteenth century, meteorology meant the study of "meteors"—spectacular objects in the skies beneath the moon, which included everything from shooting stars to hailstorms. In Reading the Skies, Vladimir Jankovic traces the history of this meteorological tradition in Enlightenment Britain, examining its scientific and cultural significance.

Jankovic interweaves classical traditions, folk/popular beliefs and practices, and the increasingly quantitative approaches of urban university men to understanding the wonders of the skies. He places special emphasis on the role that detailed meteorological observations played in natural history and chorography, or local geography; in religious and political debates; and in agriculture. Drawing on a number of archival sources, including correspondence and weather diaries, as well as contemporary pamphlets, tracts, and other printed sources reporting prodigious phenomena in the skies, this book will interest historians of science, Britain, and the environment.

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Reading The Social Body
Catherine B. Burroughs
University of Iowa Press, 1993

 The overarching argument of Reading the Social Body is that the body is cultural rather than “natural.” Some of the essays treat the social construction of bodies that have actually existed in human history; others discuss the representation of bodies in artistic contexts; all recognize that everything visible to the human body—from posture and costume to the width of an eyebrow or a smile—is determined by and shaped in response to a particular culture.


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Reading the Song of Songs with St. Thomas Aquinas
Serge-Thomas Bonino
Catholic University of America Press, 2022
St. Thomas Aquinas never commented on the Song of Songs. The purpose of this book is to demonstrate, however, that he meditated on it and absorbed it, so that the words of the Song are for him a familiar repertoire and a theological source. His work contains numerous citations of the Song, not counting his borrowings of vocabulary and images from it. In total, there are 312 citations of the Song in Aquinas’s corpus, along with citations of the Song that are found in citations that Aquinas makes of other authors (as for example in the Catena aurea). Understanding the purpose and placement of these citations significantly enriches our understanding of Aquinas as a theologian, biblical exegete, and spiritual master. The book contains an Appendix listing and contextualizing each citation. The study of the citations of the Song especially illuminates Aquinas’s spiritual doctrine. By citing the Song, Aquinas emphasizes the spiritual life’s path of dynamic ascent, through an ever increasing participation in the mystery of the nuptial union of Christ and the Church through love. The Song also highlights the eschatological tension or yearning present in the spiritual life, which is ordered to the fullness of beatific vision. Although Aquinas’s theology is highly “intellectual,” by citing the Song he brings out the affective character of the spiritual life and conveys the centrality of love in the soul’s journey toward Christ. He also draws together contemplation and preaching through his use of the Song.

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Reading The Trail
Exploring The Literature And Natural History Of The California Crest
Corey Lee Lewis
University of Nevada Press, 2005

A provocative new way to read and interpret the classic works of John Muir, Mary Austin, and Gary Snyder, and to bring their ideas into the discussion of ecological values and the current environmental crisis. Lewis combines a perceptive discussion of their work and ideas with an engaging account of his own trail experiences as hiker/backpacker and volunteer trail builder, proposing that such a field-based, interdisciplinary approach to literary study and outdoors experience can enrich our appreciation for the work of nature writers.


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Reading the Underthought
Jewish Hermeneutics and the Christian Poetry of Hopkins and Eliot
Kinereth Meyer
Catholic University of America Press, 2010
Reading the Underthought explores the question of how readers from one tradition can approach the poetry of another

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Reading the Walls of Bogota
Graffiti, Street Art, and the Urban Imaginary of Violence
Alba Griffin
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2023
A cultural imaginary is a structuring space through which collective understandings of cultural and society phenomena are formed, reproduced, and accepted as the norm. Reading the Walls of Bogotá uses graffiti and street art to explore the urban imaginaries of violence in Bogotá, Colombia. These artistic forms are produced and received in different ways in different areas of the city and offer an insight into citizens’ everyday experiences and perceptions of violence from the political, to the personal, to that of structural inequality. Through graffiti, in which critiques of memory, space, politics, and aesthetics are embedded, artists and their viewers form vernacular theories through which they interpret the world and the spaces they inhabit. By focusing on creative expression, Alba Griffin shows how Bogotá’s residents respond to imaginaries of violence, how they critique the norms, how they appropriate space to challenge or negotiate violence, and how they push back against inequality. 

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Reading "The Waste Land"
Modernism and the Limits of Interpretation
Jewel Spears Brooker
University of Massachusetts Press, 1992
This study of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land guides the reader through the poem line by line, taking into account a number of previous interpretations. Aims to offer a part-by-part analysis of the poem with periodic summations and a meditation on the limits of interpretation and the problematic nature of reading in the late 20th century.

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Reading the Wind
The Literature of the Vietnam War
Timothy J. Lomperis
Duke University Press, 1987
The decade following the American defeat in Vietnam has been filled with doubts about American politics and values, confusion over the lessons of the war, and anger about the physical and psychological suffering that occurred during the war as well as thereafter. In the years since the U.S. withdrawal, our need to make sense of Vietnam has prompted an outpouring of thinking and writing, from scholarly reappraisals of American foreign policy to highly personal accounts of participants. On the tenth anniversary of the final U. S. withdrawal, the Asia Society sponsored a conference on the Vietnam experience in American literature at which leading writers, critics, publishers, commentators, and academics wrestled with this phenomenon. Drawing on the synergy of this conference, Timothy J. Lomperis has produced an original work that focuses on the growing body of literature—including novels, personal accounts, and oral histories—which describes the experiences of American soldiers in Vietnam as well as the experience of veterans upon their return home.

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Reading the World
British Practices of Natural History, 1760-1820
Edwin David Rose
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2025
A new addition to the University of Pittsburgh Press Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century series

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Reading the World
Encyclopedic Writing in the Scholastic Age
Mary Franklin-Brown
University of Chicago Press, 2012
The thirteenth century saw such a proliferation of new encyclopedic texts that more than one scholar has called it the “century of the encyclopedias.” Variously referred to as a speculum, thesaurus, or imago mundi—the term encyclopedia was not commonly applied to such books until the eighteenth century—these texts were organized in such a way that a reader could easily locate a collection of authoritative statements on any given topic. Because they reproduced, rather than simply summarized, parts of prior texts, these compilations became libraries in miniature.
In this groundbreaking study, Mary Franklin-Brown examines writings in Latin, Catalan, and French that are connected to the encyclopedic movement: Vincent of Beauvais’s Speculum maius; Ramon Llull’s Libre de meravelles, Arbor scientiae, and Arbre de filosofia d’amor; and Jean de Meun’s continuation of the Roman de la Rose. Franklin-Brown analyzes the order of knowledge in these challenging texts, describing the wide-ranging interests, the textual practices—including commentary, compilation, and organization—and the diverse discourses that they absorb from preexisting classical, patristic, and medieval writing. She also demonstrates how these encyclopedias, like libraries, became “heterotopias” of knowledge—spaces where many possible ways of knowing are juxtaposed.
But Franklin-Brown’s study will not appeal only to historians: she argues that a revised understanding of late medievalism makes it possible to discern a close connection between scholasticism and contemporary imaginative literature. She shows how encyclopedists employed the same practices of figuration, narrative, and citation as poets and romanciers, while much of the difficulty of the imaginative writing of this period derives from a juxtaposition of heterogeneous discourses inspired by encyclopedias. 
With rich and innovative readings of texts both familiar and neglected, Reading the World reveals how the study of encyclopedism can illuminate both the intellectual work and the imaginative writing of the scholastic age.

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Reading With Clarice Lispector
Helene Cixous
University of Minnesota Press, 1990
Edited, translated, and introduced by Verena Andermatt Conley. The foremost French feminist literary critic pays homage to the premiere Latin American woman prose writer of this century.

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Reading with Feeling
Affect Theory and the Bible
Fiona C. Black
SBL Press, 2019

Essays with a methodological and metacritical focus

The psychological approach known as affect theory focuses on bodily feelings—depression, happiness, disgust, love—and can illuminate both texts and their interpretations. In this collection of essays scholars break new ground in biblical interpretation by deploying a range of affect-theoretical approaches in their interpretations of texts. Contributors direct their attention to the political, social, and cultural formation of emotion and other precognitive forces as a corrective to more traditional historical-critical methods and postmodern approaches. The inclusion of response essays results in a rich transdisciplinary dialog, with, for example, history, classics, and philosophy. Fiona C. Black, Amy C. Cottrill, Rhiannon Graybill, Jennifer L. Koosed, Joseph Marchal, Robert Seesengood, Ken Stone, and Jay Twomey engage a range of texts from biblical, to prayers, to graphic novels. Erin Runions and Stephen D. Moore’s responses push the conversation in new fruitful directions.


  • An overview of the development of affect theory and how it has been used to interpret biblical texts
  • Examples of how to apply affect theory to biblical exegesis
  • Interdisciplinary studies that engage history, literature, classics, animal studies, liturgical studies, philosophy, and sociology

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Reading With Lincoln
Robert Bray
Southern Illinois University Press, 2010

Through extensive reading and reflection, Abraham Lincoln fashioned a mind as powerfully intellectual and superlatively communicative as that of any other American political leader. Reading with Lincoln uncovers the how of Lincoln’s inspiring rise to greatness by connecting the content of his reading to the story of his life.

At the core of Lincoln’s success was his self-education, centered on his love of and appreciation for learning through books. From his early studies of grammar school handbooks and children’s classics to his interest in Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the Bible during his White House years, what Lincoln read helped to define who he was as a person and as a politician. This unique study delves into the books, pamphlets, poetry, plays, and essays that influenced Lincoln’s thoughts and actions.

            Exploring in great depth and detail those readings that inspired the sixteenth president, author Robert Bray follows Lincoln’s progress closely, from the young teen composing letters for illiterate friends and neighbors to the politician who keenly employed what he read to advance his agenda. Bray analyzes Lincoln’s radical period in New Salem, during which he came under the influence of Anglo-American and French Enlightenment thinkers such as Thomas Paine, C. F. Volney, and Voltaire, and he investigates Lincoln’s appreciation of nineteenth-century lyric poetry, which he both read and wrote. Bray considers Lincoln’s fascination with science, mathematics, political economics, liberal social philosophy, theology, and the Bible, and devotes special attention to Lincoln’s enjoyment of American humor. While striving to arrive at an understanding of the role each subject played in the development of this remarkable leader, Bray also examines the connections and intertextual relations between what Lincoln read and how he wrote and spoke.

            This comprehensive and long-awaited book provides fresh insight into the self-made man from the wilderness of Illinois. Bray offers a new way to approach the mind of the political artist who used his natural talent, honed by years of rhetorical study and practice, to abolish slavery and end the Civil War.



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Reading with Oprah
The Book Club that Changed America
Kathleen Rooney
University of Arkansas Press, 2008

Adored by its fans, deplored by its critics, Oprah’s Book Club has been at the center of arguments about cultural authority and literary taste since it began in 1996. Reading with Oprah explores the club’s revolutionary fusion of books, television, and commerce and tells the engaging and in-depth story of the OBC phenomenon.

Kathleen Rooney combines extensive research with a dynamic voice to reveal the club’s far-reaching cultural impact and its role as crucible for the clash between “high” and “low” literary taste. Comprehensive and up-to-date, the book covers the club from its inception in 1996, through the Jonathan Franzen contretemps, the surprising suspension in 2002, and, after the club’s return in 2003, the progression from “great books” to memoir. New material includes an extensive look at the James Frey scandal and Oprah’s turn to contemporary fiction, including The Road and Middlesex.

Through close examination of Winfrey’s picks and personal interviews with book club authors and readers, Rooney demonstrates how the club that Barbara Kingsolver calls “one of the best possible uses of a television set” has, according to Wally Lamb, “gotten people of all ages to read, to read more, and to read widely.”

First edition published in 2005.


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Reading, Writing, and Revolution
Escuelitas and the Emergence of a Mexican American Identity in Texas
By Philis M. Barragán Goetz
University of Texas Press, 2020

2022 National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Book Award
Tejas Foco Non-fiction Book Award, National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies
2021 Tejano Book Prize, Tejano Genealogy Society of Austin
2021 Jim Parish Award for Documentation and Publication of Local and Regional History, Webb County Heritage Foundation
2021 Runner-up, Ramirez Family Award for Most Significant Scholarly Book

The first book on the history of escuelitas, Reading, Writing, and Revolution examines the integral role these grassroots community schools played in shaping Mexican American identity.

Language has long functioned as a signifier of power in the United States. In Texas, as elsewhere in the Southwest, ethnic Mexicans’ relationship to education—including their enrollment in the Spanish-language community schools called escuelitas—served as a vehicle to negotiate that power. Situating the history of escuelitas within the contexts of modernization, progressivism, public education, the Mexican Revolution, and immigration, Reading, Writing, and Revolution traces how the proliferation and decline of these community schools helped shape Mexican American identity.

Philis M. Barragán Goetz argues that the history of escuelitas is not only a story of resistance in the face of Anglo hegemony but also a complex and nuanced chronicle of ethnic Mexican cultural negotiation. She shows how escuelitas emerged and thrived to meet a diverse set of unfulfilled needs, then dwindled as later generations of Mexican Americans campaigned for educational integration. Drawing on extensive archival, genealogical, and oral history research, Barragán Goetz unravels a forgotten narrative at the crossroads of language and education as well as race and identity.


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Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Seagull Books, 2014
Throughout her distinguished career, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak has sought to locate and confront shifting forms of social and cultural oppression. As her work shows, the best method for doing so is through extended practice in the ethics of reading.  

In Readings, Spivak elaborates a utopian vision for the kind of deep and investigative reading that can develop a will for peaceful social justice in coming generations. Through her own analysis of specific works, Spivak demonstrates modes in which such a vision might be achieved. In the examples here, she pays close attention to signposts of character, action, and place in J. M. Coetzee’s Summertime and Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. She also offers rereads of two of her own essays, addressing changes in her own thinking and practice over the course of her career. Now in her fifth decade of teaching, Spivak passes on her lessons through anecdote, interpretation, warning, and instruction to students and teachers of literature. She writes, “I urge students of English to understand that utopia does not happen, and yet to understand, also, their importance to the nation and the world. Indeed, I know how hard it is to sustain such a spirit in the midst of a hostile polity, but I urge the students to consider the challenge.”

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Regionalism and the Reading Class
Wendy Griswold
University of Chicago Press, 2008
Globalization and the Internet are smothering cultural regionalism, that sense of place that flourished in simpler times. These two villains are also prime suspects in the death of reading. Or so alarming reports about our homogenous and dumbed-down culture would have it, but as Regionalism and the Reading Class shows, neither of these claims stands up under scrutiny—quite the contrary.

Wendy Griswold draws on cases from Italy, Norway, and the United States to show that fans of books form their own reading class, with a distinctive demographic profile separate from the general public. This reading class is modest in size but intense in its literary practices. Paradoxically these educated and mobile elites work hard to put down local roots by, among other strategies, exploring regional writing. Ultimately, due to the technological, economic, and political advantages they wield, cosmopolitan readers are able to celebrate, perpetuate, and reinvigorate local culture.

Griswold’s study will appeal to students of cultural sociology and the history of the book—and her findings will be welcome news to anyone worried about the future of reading or the eclipse of place.

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Room for Maneuver
Reading (the) Oppositional (in) Narrative
Ross Chambers
University of Chicago Press, 1991

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