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The Ethnography of Reading$
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Jonathan Boyarin

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780520079557

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520079557.001.0001

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Textual Interpretation As Collective Action

Textual Interpretation As Collective Action

Chapter:
(p.180) Nine: Textual Interpretation As Collective Action
Source:
The Ethnography of Reading
Author(s):

Jonathan Boyarin

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520079557.003.0009

This chapter argues that modernism provides just one permutation of the ideology of the “writer-who-writes-alone,” one which puts the spin of romantically alienated genius on a far older story. Nonetheless, it agrees with Linda Brodkey that the image of the solitary scribbler is an ideological synecdoche which truncates our understanding of writing by overprivileging the moment of isolation and also suppresses the social aspects of writing. The chapter considers some consequences of construing textual interpretation as a fundamentally solitary practice, all of which involve the suppression of the collective nature of reading.

Keywords:   textual interpretation, solitary scribbler, Linda Broadkey, collective reading

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