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Literature as a Spur to Collective Action: The Diverse Perspectives of Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Reading Groups

Literature as a Spur to Collective Action: The Diverse Perspectives of Nineteenth- and... Reading groups provide a fruitful site for examining women's uses of literature in life, since discussing books with other women gives rise to insights that come with sharing perspectives on both literature and participants' lives. This research focuses on white women's reading groups in both nineteenth- and twentieth-century Houston, Texas. Nineteenth-century groups found in their literary and associational practices the warrant to embark on a broad program of collective action; twentieth-century groups, by and large, severed this link yet still met important needs for women, such as providing the occasion for reflective normative discussions. Comparing the continuities and disjunctures between women's reading groups over time demonstrates that broad social and cultural "frames" (to use Erving Goffman's (1974) term) strongly influence how literature enters our individual and collective lives. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Poetics Today: International Journal for Theory and Analysis of Literature and Communication Duke University Press

Literature as a Spur to Collective Action: The Diverse Perspectives of Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Reading Groups

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Duke University Press
ISSN
0333-5372
eISSN
1527-5507
DOI
10.1215/03335372-25-2-335
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Reading groups provide a fruitful site for examining women's uses of literature in life, since discussing books with other women gives rise to insights that come with sharing perspectives on both literature and participants' lives. This research focuses on white women's reading groups in both nineteenth- and twentieth-century Houston, Texas. Nineteenth-century groups found in their literary and associational practices the warrant to embark on a broad program of collective action; twentieth-century groups, by and large, severed this link yet still met important needs for women, such as providing the occasion for reflective normative discussions. Comparing the continuities and disjunctures between women's reading groups over time demonstrates that broad social and cultural "frames" (to use Erving Goffman's (1974) term) strongly influence how literature enters our individual and collective lives.

Journal

Poetics Today: International Journal for Theory and Analysis of Literature and CommunicationDuke University Press

Published: Jun 1, 2004

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