UWE LONG NINETEENTH-CENTURY NETWORK (LNCN) RESEARCH STUDENT PAPER SERIES 2012-13

UWE LONG NINETEENTH-CENTURY NETWORK (LNCN) RESEARCH STUDENT PAPER SERIES 2012-13

Thursday 22nd November 2012

 ‘“A Momentary Contact with Reality”: Reading and Otherness in E.M. Forster and M.R. James’

Dewi Evans (University of Cardiff)

 The paper illustrates how debates about ways of ‘reading’ the past at the turn of the twentieth century intersect with concerns about the emergence of a mass reading public in the wake of the 1870 Education Act. Focusing on the work of M.R. James and E.M. Forster, I argue that the former’s concern about the emergence of archaeology as a ‘professional’ method of reading the past – in contrast to the avocational antiquarianism it superseded – resembles Forster’s concerns about the emergence of ‘literature’ as a pedagogical tool. James and Forster’s fictions both depict readers whose understanding of the texts they consume is hindered by an inability to grasp their own role, as readers, in composing the textual ‘message’ of that which they read. This leads to an obtuse refusal to read against the grain, ensuring a continual subservience to ideologies that dominate the ways in which texts are produced and read.

 All papers will be held at 18.00 in the Lady Chapel, St Matthias Campus, UWE, Oldbury Court Road, Fishponds, Bristol, BS16 2JP. For directions to the campus see http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/comingtouwe/campusesmapsandtravel/stmatthiascampus.aspx. For information about this event please contact Joanne Parsons (Joanne.Parsons@live.uwe.ac.uk

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