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Book Chapter

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The Routledge Companion To Victorian Literature


This chapter investigates how the most recent batch of new literary-critical interpretive methods takes inspiration from Victorian readers and reading. We consider the institutional context in which recent method debates have unfolded before turning to survey new methods, including distant reading, surface reading, curatorial reading, reparative reading, referential reading, literal reading, and affective reading. We show that these apparently very different interventions in literary scholarship’s method all have in common their attraction to the nineteenth century not just as an object of study but as an inspiration for method. And these nineteenth-century-inspired methods also seek to reconfigure the boundaries of scholarly knowledge and scholarly audiences. While reaching backward to the nineteenth century, many also reach beyond the profession to borrow the reading methods of other publics and other disciplines; many also address themselves not to a specialized, field-identified group of readers but to a general audience of literary scholars.

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D. Denisoff and T. Schaffer


This material was originally published in The Routledge Companion to Victorian Literature edited by Dennis Denisoff and Talia Schaffer, and has been reproduced by permission of Routledge. For permission to reuse this material, please visit the publisher's website.

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