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Politics of (Un)Reading

How do writers perceive reading and what strategies do they employ in its politics? How could one read a text which resists narration, and how could one read a text that insists on rereading in order to be understood? How is reading presented in mid-20th-century fiction? What is 'blind reading', what is its relation to unreading and could we define reading as a form of blindness?

This research project focuses on the politics of (un)reading and the textual policies of mid-20th-century fiction. Politics of reading is understood as the specific textual strategies the works impose on their readers, the literary practices and policies that are used to gain and hold power in the text or to engage a reader. Vladimir Nabokov's and Maurice Blanchot's stories from the 30s-60s will serve to probe the prospective collaboration of cognitive approaches to literary narrative and reception theory. The role of gaps and context in the act of reading and their interaction with the reader as well as the relation reading – blindness will constitute the nodal points of discussion. The main objective of the interdisciplinary study is to find out how the two frameworks could work together and to outline a new cognitive reception theory. In addition, it will compare and contrast Nabokov's and Blanchot's theories of reading and their application in a mirroring cyclic recurrence: the required necessity for rereading and the impossibility of narrating.

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