An Anthropology of Reading by Eric Livingston

By Eric Livingston

A publication approximately how readers learn and the way critics learn, "An Anthropology of examining" items jointly ethnographic descriptions, cultural artifacts, and descriptive analyses to bare literary feedback as its personal tradition of analyzing. Livingston interleaves discussions of captioned pictures, uncomplicated arithmetical calculations, checks of studying comprehension etc with unique readings of poems by means of T. S. Eliot, Dudley Fitts, Wilfred Owen, and Dylan Thomas, and with interrogations of the feedback approximately those poems.

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Therein, that reading also seems eminently teachable: when attention is directed to a few of the text's details, a proper reading becomes obvious. 2 Producing such demonstrations and seeing such demonstrations per­ formed sustain the members of the discipline in their work. Each critical article offers itself as containing such a demonstration—whether it is about a specific text, the use of imagery in a particular period, or a feature of the critical literature. The grounds of the literary demonstration lie within the laic skills of ordinary reading.

It is just one of many such experiences of the present world for which the opening voice of the second stanza then provides commentary: there is something even worse than death running to catch up to us in youth or than death looming ahead as we get older (see lines 28-29); nothing in the end awaits, only that we are turned to dust. The prophet promises: I will show you fear in a handful of dust. This, too, is a voice from, and of, the waste land. By problematizing the work of reading, the opening of The Waste Land forces us to explicate that work.

Here, then, we also see that it is not really a "miracle"; it has our fingerprints on it. 4 PROBLEMS OF READING Much of reading's work is unremarkable, specifically uninteresting, and utterly ordinary. In the Owen poem, the observation that a single voice speaks the lines is trivial, as are the observations that the poem builds to a conclusion, that the speaker is listening for another person, and that their meeting bodes ill. Saying that Fortunatus is a portrait-painter and that his sons do not look like him is obvious.

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