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Enthralling but at the same time disturbing : challenging the readers of Small Island

Lang, Anouk (2009) Enthralling but at the same time disturbing : challenging the readers of Small Island. Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 44 (2). pp. 123-140.

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Abstract

This article explores the responses of readers who encountered Andrea Levy’s novel Small Island through the 2007 project Small Island Read. Through an analysis of the pleasure and discomfort experienced by these readers, it suggests that Small Island was able to keep them in the thrall of its narrative arc, while simultaneously challenging them to consider the stereotypes distorting their perceptions of others and while conveying uncomfortable information to them, such as the disparity between the representation of the “mother country” to colonial subjects and lived reality in wartime England. The responses also furnish evidence of the ways literary features can both facilitate and obstruct a text’s transformative potential, and how Levy’s text helped readers to overcome destabilizing effects such as chronological shifts and use of dialect. It argues that the reception of Small Island raises important questions about the divide between academic and other kinds of reading within postcolonial studies.

Item type: Article
ID code: 34585
Keywords: small island, andrea levy, mass reading events, reception study, reader response, postcolonial studies, English, English literature, Literature and Literary Theory
Subjects: Language and Literature > English
Language and Literature > English literature
Department: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HaSS) > School of Humanities > English
Related URLs:
Depositing user: Pure Administrator
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2011 14:45
Last modified: 05 Sep 2014 12:07
URI: http://strathprints.strath.ac.uk/id/eprint/34585

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