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Title: The 'New' World Literature: A Review Essay
Contributor(s): McDougall, Russell J  (author)
Publication Date: 2014
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: Try to imagine just a few of the many varied scenes of reading that the Reading Room of the British Library has hosted and witnessed over the years. Now, which space are you visualising? Is it the one where exiled and poverty-stricken Karl Marx found safe harbour to sit and read and write of an end to capitalism, reputedly at Desk 07? Alas, that magnificently domed Bloomsbury scene is no more. You can still visit the space it once occupied, as home to the National Library 1857 to 1997, at the centre of the Great Court in the British Museum. But it is now an exhibition site for objects mostly other than books. The history of that 'reading room' reminds me of Marc Johns's drawings of 'objects reading books' - a hand of bananas reading 'Othello'; a world globe reading 'Walden'; a salt-shaker reading 'The Catcher in the Rye'. If you do visit the 'old' reading room in the Museum it is unlikely you will find any of these texts or artefacts; but the graphic staging of these absurd encounters, imagining things together that don't seem to belong, serves as a neat reminder of the how reading scenes can change shape, shifting boundaries in and out of context, depending on what knowledge and experience the reader brings to the text. The walls between reading rooms are nothing if not porous.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Transnational Literature, 6(2), p. 1-10
Publisher: Flinders University
Place of Publication: Australia
ISSN: 1836-4845
Field of Research (FOR): 200508 Other Literatures in English
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
950202 Languages and Literacy
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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