If you’re in London, the 21st Century Theory Reading Group is having their inaugural meeting next Thursday, 11 February 2010, in room GSB2, 2 Gower Street between 1 and 3 pm.
The focus will be on Catherine Belsey’s article ‘The Death of the Reader’ (Textual Practice, 23: 2, April 2009, pp. 201-214), asking the following questions:
– Is the reader dead?
– “Critical biography is not an aid to reading but a substitute for it” (p. 212). Is this true?
– Are the “Death of the Author” and the “Death of the Reader” mutually exclusive?
– “Literature can be dangerous” (p. 203). Is reading a political act?
I think this has the potential to be a really interesting group, if their mission statement is anything to go by:
The very lack of perspective is itself revealed to be a kind of perspective. Moreover, it is precisely this kind of paradoxical understanding of the world – a simultaneous ‘dissolving’ and ‘making clear’ of reality – that critical theory, in dialogue with literature, can to help weave into a figurative language for our time.
Though we are confronted by this time of paradox daily, it’s never a bad thing to be reminded of it.
Being a post-grad, it’s very easy to being dissociated from current trends in academia and almost impossible not to begin to feel disconnected from both other students and other ways of thinking. This group seems to have an understanding of this firmly at the centre of its practice. If I can manage it I’ll definitely be attending.