Neo-Victorianism, Empathy and Reading

Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN-13 : 1350135607

Page : 216 pages

Rating : 4.5/5 from 607 voters

In the words of J. Brooks Boustan, the empathic reader is a participant-observer, who, as they read, is both subject to the disruptive and disturbing responses that characters and texts provoke, and aware of the role they are invited to play when responding to fiction. Calling upon the writings of Margaret Atwood, Julian Barnes, Graeme Macrae Burnet, Sarah Waters, Michael Cox and Jane Harris, this book examines the ethics of the text-reader relationship in neo-Victorian literature, focusing upon the role played by empathy in this engagement. Bringing together recent cultural and theoretical research on narrative temporality, empathy and affect, Muren Zhang presents neo-Victorian literature as a genre defined by its experimentation with 'empathetic narrative'. Broken down into themes such as voyeurism, shame, nausea, space and place, Neo-Victorianism, Empathy and Reading argues that such literature pushes the reader to critically reflect upon their reading expectations and strategies, as well as their wider ethical responsibilities. As a result, Zhang breathes new life into the debates associated with the genre and demonstrates new ways of reading and valuing these contemporary texts, providing a future-orientated, reparative and politically meaningful way of reading neo-Victorian literature and culture.

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