Mediating Criticism

Literary Education Humanized

Roger D. Sell | Åbo Akademi University
ISBN 9789027225825 (Eur) | EUR 125.00
ISBN 9781588111043 (USA) | USD 188.00
ISBN 9789027225832 (Eur) | EUR 38.00
ISBN 9781588111050 (USA) | USD 57.00
ISBN 9789027297952 | EUR 125.00/38.00*
| USD 188.00/57.00*
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In the twentieth century, literature was under threat. Not only was there the challenge of new forms of oral and visual culture. Even literary education and literary criticism could sometimes actually distance novels, poems and plays from their potential audience. This is the trend which Roger D. Sell now seeks to reverse. Arguing that literature can still be a significant and democratic channel of human interactivity, he sees the most helpful role of teachers and critics as one of mediation. Through their own example they can encourage readers to empathize with otherness, to recognize the historical achievement of significant acts of writing, and to respond to literary authors’ own faith in communication itself. By way of illustration, he offers major re-assessments of five canonical figures (Vaughan, Fielding, Dickens, T.S. Eliot, and Frost), and of two fascinating twentieth-century writers who were somewhat misunderstood (the novelist William Gerhardie and the poet Andrew Young).
[Not in series, 108] 2001.  x, 431 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“[...] as radical, in the context within which we are reading, as anything that came out of the theory wars. Roger Sell's book will be music to the ears of anyone who enjoys reading, who appreciates subtle and attentive critical analysis, and who continues to find value in the teaching of literature.”
“We are far from the stalemate of much recent criticism. If such a thing as an enriching exchange between author and reader is humanly possible, who could be more fitted to further that dialogue and enhance the reader's experience than Sell's mediating critic.”
“[...] useful to reread whenever I am teaching these authors again.”
“This approach is not a sentimental return to the age of Saintsbury, but takes from the critical and pedagogical approaches following in the wake of cultural materialism and poststructuralism the concern with history to build a new form of 'literary appreciation' that will combine the 'Saintsburian energy, enthusiasm and breadth' (p. 13) with and intellectual self-consciousness.”
“Sell marshals an impressive amount of evidence for his communicative theory of literature. To say that the range of his reading and scholarship is wide is an understatement, and the amount of information provided does not make for easy reading. But these two books do indeed constitute a "timely intervention," to quote the blurb of Literature as Communication, in the current cultural debate. By giving a powerful boost to historical scholarship, which both New Criticism and Deconstruction to a climate of opinion less given to arid theorizing and dogmatism.”
“In a series of case studies of Fielding, Vaughan, Dickens, Frost, Eliot, Gerhardie and Auden, Sell explores how sympathy and empathy between writer and reader can regain a central place in academic literary discussion. He lays refreshing emphasis on the teacher's conveying generosity and hope. His instincts are admirable [...]”
“[...] the liveliness, opinions and generosity of the approach are very enjoyable.”
“[...] a proposal [...] for a pragmatics which, instead of growing a hard shell of method, seeks to interact with other dimensions of human experience, answerable to aesthetics and ethics.

Both Literature as Communication and Mediating Critism are books which should be read by every scholar concerned with literary theory and linguistic criticism, and by every linguist interested in the outer reaches of pragmatics and interactional discourse analysis — or by anyone who won't choose sides between literature and language.

Cited by

Cited by 16 other publications

Pia Maria Ahlbäck, Jouni Teittinen & Maria Lassén-Seger
Fishelov, David
2014. Dialogue and dialogicity. In Literature as Dialogue [Dialogue Studies, 22],  pp. 23 ff. DOI logo
Garcia Landa, Jose Angel
2001. The Poetics of Subliminal Awareness. SSRN Electronic Journal DOI logo
Landa, José Ángel García
2005. Book Review: Children’s Literature as Communication: The ChiLPA Project (Studies in Narrative, 2). Language and Literature: International Journal of Stylistics 14:2  pp. 205 ff. DOI logo
Kokkola, Lydia
2013. Literary Community Making: The Dialogicality of English Texts from the Seventeenth Century to the Present. European Journal of English Studies 17:2  pp. 217 ff. DOI logo
Leonardi, Barbara
2019. Chapter 9. James Hogg’s and Walter Scott’s Scottishness. In Pragmatics and Literature [Linguistic Approaches to Literature, 35],  pp. 192 ff. DOI logo
Sell, Roger D.
2014. In dialogue with the ageing Wordsworth. In Literature as Dialogue [Dialogue Studies, 22],  pp. 161 ff. DOI logo
Sell, Roger D.
2014. Introduction. In Literature as Dialogue [Dialogue Studies, 22],  pp. 1 ff. DOI logo
Shokouhi, Hossein, Mahmood Daram & Somayeh Sabah
2011. Shifting between third and first person points of view in EFL narratives. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education 10:4  pp. 433 ff. DOI logo
Siebers, Johan
Toikkanen, Jarkko
2013. Robert Frost: ‘The Fear’. In The Intermedial Experience of Horror,  pp. 77 ff. DOI logo
[no author supplied]

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 19 april 2024. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.


Literature & Literary Studies

Theoretical literature & literary studies

Main BIC Subject

DSB: Literary studies: general

Main BISAC Subject

ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2001037882 | Marc record