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Blair, Amy L., 1972-
Reading up : middle-class readers and the culture of success in the early twentieth-century United States / Amy L. Blair
Philadelphia : Temple University Press, c2012
book jacket
Location Call Number Status
 4th Floor  PS228.P67 B63 2012    AVAILABLE
Subject(s) American literature -- Appreciation -- United States -- History -- 20th century
Popular literature -- United States -- History and criticism
Books and reading -- United States -- History -- 20th century
Middle class -- Books and reading -- United States -- History -- 20th century
Literature and society -- United States -- History -- 20th century
Subject Mabie, Hamilton Wright, 1846-1916
Physical Description ix, 250 p. ; 23 cm
Note Includes bibliographical references (p. [227]-240) and index
Summary "A person who reads a book for self-improvement rather than aesthetic pleasure is 'reading up.' Reading Up is Amy Blair's engaging study of popular literary critics who promoted reading generally and specific books as vehicles for acquiring cultural competence and economic mobility. Combining methodologies from the history of the book and the history of reading, to mass-cultural studies, reader-response criticism, reception studies, and formalist literary analysis, Blair shows how such critics influenced the choices of striving readers and popularized some elite writers. Framed by an analysis of Hamilton Wright Mabie's role promoting the concept of reading up during his ten-year stint as the cultivator of literary taste for the highly popular Ladies' Home Journal, Reading Up reveals how readers flocked to literary works they would be expected to dislike. Blair shows that while readers could be led to certain books by a trusted adviser, they frequently followed their own path in interpreting them in unexpected ways"
Contents Introduction: Cultivating taste in a mass-market world -- Mr. Mabie tells what to read -- The compromise of Silas Lapham -- James for the general reader -- Misreading The house of mirth -- The comforts of romanticism -- Epilogue: Reading up into the twenty-first century -- Appendix A: The Mabie canon -- Appendix B: "Novels descriptive of American life" (November 1908)

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