Textual Interpretation As Collective Action

Jonathan Boyarin

in The Ethnography of Reading

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 1993 | ISBN: 9780520079557
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520913431 | DOI:
Textual Interpretation As Collective Action

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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

Chapter.  10550 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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