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    A queer response to Caroline Bergvall's hyphenated practice: toward an interdependent model of reading

    Rudy, Susan (2019) A queer response to Caroline Bergvall's hyphenated practice: toward an interdependent model of reading. In: Colby, G. (ed.) Reading Experimental Writing. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 163-184. ISBN 9781474440394.

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    When literary critics approach highly experimental works, we are confronted with a problem: it is not always clear to us what the work means. Readers of such work may find themselves bereft. We don’t know what to do when we open a book and fi nd texts like the one reproduced on the front cover of Reading Experimental Writing, from Caroline Bergvall’s Drift. Have a look. What do you see? I see very narrow lines in the shape of a stanza, and at first don’t realise I am looking at a drawing. Is this a drawing of unreadable lines of text? There are lots and lots of lines in this section that is called ‘LINES’ but doesn’t name itself as such until the penultimate page of the book. The question arises, what is a reader to do without language? Is there an alternative to feeling bereft of meaning? We are used to working hard, yes, but we expect that at some point the meaning of the work will become clear. If it does not, we imagine that the problem is outside of us. Despite decades-long debates about the death of the author, we feel her absence: the author has not offered us a clear path. But what has she offered? In this chapter, I argue that Caroline Bergvall’s ‘hyphenated practice’, experienced in the first pages of Drift as the juxtaposition of writing with drawing, calls for and models a new understanding of the relation between writer and reader, one that models what we can do when we find ourselves in the dark, when meaning is unclear, when we don’t know how to find our way.


    Item Type: Book Section
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Depositing User: Susan Rudy
    Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2022 16:25
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:52


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