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Reading and the Reader: The Literary Agenda Paperback – 3 Oct 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; First Edition edition (3 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199683182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199683185
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 1 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 240,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

This is not some dry work of academic lit crit. Rather, it is a heartfelt celebration of the value of reading. (PD Smith, the guardian)

About the Author

Philip Davis is editor of The Reader magazine and director of a Centre for Research into Reading (CRILS) at the University of Liverpool, as well as being a Professor of English literature. His publications include works on Shakespeare, Samuel Johnson, The Victorians, Bernard Malamud, as well as books on reading itself (The Experience of Reading; Real Voices: On Reading). He is committed to the relation to literature to the wider world and is a member of the The Reader Organization, an outreach charity which brings reading-aloud to shared-reading groups in a variety of settings from dementia wards to facilities for looked-after children, including libraries, drug rehabilitation centres, mental health drop-in clinics and prisons.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J.K. Currie VINE VOICE on 23 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is the first of a series entitled The Literary Agenda. Its central thesis provides an argument for the importance of reading serious literature and its effects on the emotional intelligence of the reader. In short, to read and appreciate serious literature has major and positive benefits for the one who reads. By literature, the author means poetry, drama and fiction.

Not the least of the pleasures of reading this book is to enjoy the examples the author gives from, inter alia, Hardy, Shakespeare, Conrad, C Day Lewis, and his sensitive use of these authors' works to illustrate and explain his central points. The reading of literature, he argues, provides for the reader a `holding-ground' which is the establishment of a mental place for intellectual and emotional contemplation. Thus the reader can think about and experience alternative world views, ideas and emotions in a `place apart' from the reality of his own world.

It is no exaggeration that I have found this little book inspirational. While it is essential to read it from cover to cover to appreciate its full argument and message, I am convinced that I will read sentences, paragraphs, pages and sections over and over again for years to come to appreciate the subtlety of what the writer has to say. It is not by any means a quick nor an easy read, despite its brevity, but it is a pleasurable one, to be taken slowly and to be revisited.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By San Diego surfer on 19 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is not a quick read but one to ponder over. In a time when there is much less support for the arts and humanities (for example, in 2009 the government cut funding for the arts in favour of the sciences), this book provides a staunch defence of the importance of literature and reading. It is part of an Oxford University Press series, "The Literary Agenda", which is "a series of short polemical monographs about the importance of literature and of reading in the wider world and about the state of literary education inside schools and universities" (quote source: [...]). I think that reading is vitally important for personal development and literature has much to offer us in terms of different perspectives and views.

This is an excellent book and I will certainly be reading further publications in this series.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a learned book, and not a quick afternoon read, so I haven't finished it yet.
Its one to read slowly and then to think about.

However it has a serious message, that the arts or humanity subjects are important and their value is in danger of being lost as we try to put a price on education. When students have to pay (and in the US increasingly huge amounts) for their education. They will ask questions like "What value to me is English Literature?". They may enjoy reading, but struggle to justify studying it from future earnings potential.

This book argues that it is by reading and studying literature that we become truly human. In reading we are confronted by our own humanity and values, and have to consider them deeply.

It is well argued, and has convinced this scientist so far.
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