Readers, Viewers and Reception
Edited by Bethan Benwell, James Procter, Gemma Robinson
Routledge – 2012 – 264 pages
Without readers and audiences, viewers and consumers, the postcolonial would be literally unthinkable. And yet, postcolonial critics have historically neglected the modes of reception and consumption that make up the politics, and pleasures of meaning-making during and after empire. Thus, while recent criticism and theory has made large claims for reading; as an ethical act; as a means of establishing collective, quasi-political consciousness; as identification with difference; as a mode of resistance; and as an impulsion to the public imagination, the reader in postcolonial literary studies persists as a shadowy figure. This collection answers the now pressing need for a distinctively postcolonial take on the rapidly expanding area of reader and reception studies. Written by some of the top scholars in the field, these essays reveal readers and reception to be varied and profoundly unstable subjects that challenge many of our assumptions and preconceptions of the postcolonial – from the notion of reading as national fellowship to the demands of an ethics of reading.
Introduction I. Real Readers/Actual Audiences 1. The politics of postcolonial laughter: the international reception of the New Zealand animated comedy series bro’Town Michelle Keown 2. That’s maybe where I come from but that’s not how I read: Diaspora, Location and Reading Identities Bethan Benwell, James Procter and Gemma Robinson 3. "Bollywood" adolescents: young viewers discuss class, representation and Hindi films Shakuntala Banaji II. Readers and Publishers 4. Does the North Read the South? The international reception of South African scholarly texts Elizabeth Le Roux 5. William Plomer reading: The publisher’s reader at Jonathan Cape Gail Low 6. Too much Rushdie, not enough Romance?: The UK publishing industry and BME (Black Minority Ethnic) readership Claire Squires III. Reading in Representation 7. Rushdie’s hero as audience - interpreting India through Indian popular cinema Florian Stadtler 8. The "New" India and the politics of reading in Pankaj Mishra‘s Butter Chicken in Ludhiana Lucienne Loh 9. Local and global reading communities in Robert Antoni’s My Grandmother’s Erotic Folktales Lucy Evans IV. Reading and Nationalism 10. Reading gender and social reform in the Indian Social Reformer Srila Nayak 11. Reading After Terror: The Reluctant Fundamentalist and First-World Allegory Neelam Srivastava 12. "Macaulay’s Children": Thomas Babington Macaulay and the imperialism of reading in India Katie Halsey V. Reading and Postcolonial Ethics 13. Theorising postcolonial reception: writing, reading, and moral agency in the Satanic Verses affair Daniel Allington14. Reading before the Law: Melville’s ‘Bartleby’ and Asylum Seeker Narratives David Farrier 15. Sympathetic shame in J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace and Diary of a Bad Year Katherine Hallemeier 16. Responsible Reading and Cultural Difference Derek Attridge
Bethan Benwell is Senior Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics in the Department of English Studies at the University of Stirling.
James Procter is Reader in Modern English and Postcolonial Literature at Newcastle University.
Gemma Robinson is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English Studies at the University of Stirling.