Reading (with) Bateman: Mapping Potentiality of/in Reading
Keywords:Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho, Reparative Reading, Affect, Roland Barthes, Boredom, Potentiality
AbstractStarting from Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s critique of paranoid reading and her call for reparative reading, this article proposes two experimental readings of Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho“ (1991). Drawing on the writings of Roland Barthes and Eugenie Brinkema, we consider the text’s affective possibilities and potentialities as well as moments when it may surprise its readers, in order to ask what a reparative reading can look like in the case of American Psycho“. First, we read the novel for its potentialities of different affective modes—in this case, boredom and disgust—by looking closely at its syntactic structure. Second, we impose formal constraints on our reading itself, reading the novel as if it was a comedy. Through these modes of reading, our approach opens up new possibilities for parallel interpretations, instead of positing another master reading of the text.
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