Yale University Press


  • Publish Date: 1993-02-24
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Author: Professor Matei Calinescu
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What motivates us to reread literary works? How is our pleasure, interpretation, involvement, and evaluation different when we read a literary work and when we reread it? This fascinating book by Matei Calinescu is the first to focus on the implications of rereading for critical understanding. Drawing on literary theory, cultural anthropology, psychology, philosophy, and previous theories of reading, Calinescu describes the dynamics of rereading and explores the sometimes complementary, sometimes sharply conflicting relationships between reading and rereading.
Calinescu analyzes fictional works by Borges, Nabokov, Proust, Robbe-Grillet, and Henry James, among others, explaining how reading texts is related both to symbolic play or make-believe and to games with rules. He reviews the history of reading in modern times, discussing, for example, how the Reformation led to rereadings of Scripture and how the proliferation of books during the Enlightenment led to a shift from intensive reading to extensive reading. Calinescu looks at the distinctions between reading and rereading from the perspectives of the age, situation, and gender of the individual reader. He discusses the problems raised by secret or oblique languages and codes - devised to evade censors, communicate with a select audience of secret sharers, or play games of hide-and-seek with the reader - and shows that they naturally lead to rereading a text. Calinescu argues persuasively that an understanding of rereading is useful in formulating both analytic strategies of practical criticism and a poetics of reading.

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