The Affects of Reading




Reading, Affect Theory, Close Reading, Postcritique, Neoliberalism, Otessa Moshfegh, Rest and Relaxation


There has been a renewed interest in methods in literary studies over the past two decades. This article identifies a tendency towards binarism—paranoid vs. reparative, depth vs. surface, close vs. distant, against the grain vs. with the grain, critique vs. description, content vs. form—in literary studies and promotes a non-dualistic approach to reading. Such a reading does not see reading as a matter of “taking sides” or following strictly defined methods; instead, it works toward disentangling established methodological binaries. This reading is speculative and embraces speculative potentials of literary texts without subscribing to a method at the expense of the rest, without limiting itself to pre-defined methodologies. To move beyond such binarism, the article offers an affective close reading“ of Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation“ (2018) and examines the potentials of bringing together close reading and affects to re-entangle interpretation, description, enchantments, affect, and form.

Author Biography

Gulsin Ciftci, University of Muenster

Gulsin Ciftci is a doctoral candidate and research associate at the University of Muenster, where she teaches American Studies. Her current project, “Reading Reading: Affect and American Literature in Twenty-first Century,” is concerned with the relationship between reading, affects, and forms. In her readings and academic research, she is most interested in the reasons that draw the reader/viewer towards and away from specific cultural and literary texts, as well as motivations behind our literary and artistic engagements and their relational formations. Her research interests include but are not limited to the theories of reading, literary theory, affects and public feeling, as well as social media literacy and book industry.




How to Cite

Ciftci, Gulsin. “The Affects of Reading”. Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies, vol. 23, no. 2, Apr. 2023, pp. 10-29, doi:10.5283/copas.366.