Reading Up : Middle-Class Readers and the Culture of Success in the Early Twentieth-Century United States

By: Blair, AmyMaterial type: TextTextSeries: eBooks on DemandPublisher: Philadelphia : Temple University Press, 2011Description: 1 online resource (264 p.)ISBN: 9781439906699Subject(s): American literature - Appreciation - United States - History - 20th century | American literature -- Appreciation -- United States -- History -- 20th century | Books and reading - United States - History - 20th century | Books and reading -- United States -- History -- 20th century | Literature and society - United States - History - 20th century | Literature and society -- United States -- History -- 20th century | Mabie, Hamilton Wright - Knowledge - Literature | Mabie, Hamilton Wright, -- 1846-1916 -- Knowledge -- Literature | Middle class - Books and reading - United States - History - 20th century | Middle class -- Books and reading -- United States -- History -- 20th century | Popular literature - United States - History and criticism | Popular literature -- United States -- History and criticism | Success in literature | Success in literatureGenre/Form: Electronic books.Additional physical formats: Print version:: Reading Up : Middle-Class Readers and the Culture of Success in the Early Twentieth-Century United StatesDDC classification: 306.4/88097309041 | 306.488097309041 LOC classification: PS228PS228.P67 .B683 2011PS228.P67B63 2011Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
Contents; Acknowledgments; Introduction: Cultivating Taste in a Mass-Market World; 1. Mr. Mabie Tells What to Read; 2. The Compromise of Silas Lapham; 3. James for the General Reader; 4. Misreading The House of Mirth; 5. The Comforts of Romanticism; Epilogue: Reading Up into the Twenty-first Century; Appendix A: The Mabie Canon; Appendix B: "Novels Descriptive of American Life"; Notes; Bibliography; 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 that 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.
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PS228 | PS228.G38H47 2007 Queering the Underworld : PS228 | PS228.M63 | PS228.M63S68 2004 The Modernist Nation : PS228 | PS228.M63S93 2000 New Deal Modernism PS228 | PS228.P67 .B683 2011 | PS228.P67B63 2011 Reading Up : PS228 | PS228.R4 R93 2011 | PS228.R4R93 2011 Sum of the Parts : PS228 | PS228.V5 H43 2008 | PS228.V5H43 2008 Writing Vietnam, Writing Life : PS228 | PS228.W65 M59 2007 | PS228.W65M59 2007 A Vocabulary of Thinking :

Contents; Acknowledgments; Introduction: Cultivating Taste in a Mass-Market World; 1. Mr. Mabie Tells What to Read; 2. The Compromise of Silas Lapham; 3. James for the General Reader; 4. Misreading The House of Mirth; 5. The Comforts of Romanticism; Epilogue: Reading Up into the Twenty-first Century; Appendix A: The Mabie Canon; Appendix B: "Novels Descriptive of American Life"; Notes; Bibliography; Index

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 that 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.

Description based upon print version of record.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

In this reception study of popular literature in the early years of the 20th century, Blair (Marquette Univ.) concentrates on essays by Hamilton Wright Mabie (1846-1916) published between 1902 and 1912 in The Ladies' Home Journal, a "truly mass market periodical" whose readers were likely to be "relative newcomers to the world of letters." For such readers, looking for literature that was both better and better for them, Mabie articulated a pattern of taste that elided aesthetic and economic values, seeing acquaintance with books--even novels--as valuable for success in the world of work. Individual chapters treat Mabie's comments on Henry James and Edith Wharton and on such "regionalists" as Sarah Orne Jewett and George Washington Cable. Blair concludes that even today, programs such as Oprah's Book Club indicate that esteem for reading is based on its emotional and social value as well as its material: i.e., the widespread internalization of "reading up." Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. J. J. Benardete formerly, Hunder College

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Amy L. Blair is an Assistant Professor of English at Marquette University in Milwaukee.

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