The Affects of Reading
Keywords: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.
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