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Fellow Seminar

12 July 2018

Dr. Katherina Kokinova will present her research proposal on the topic: "Politics of(Un)Reading" on 12 July 2018 (Thursday) at 16:30h.


How does a metafictional writer perceive reading and what strategies does he employ in its politics? What is 'blind reading', what is its relation to unreading and could we define reading as a form of blindness? Politics of reading is understood as the specific textual strategies the works impose on their readers, the literary practices and policies that are used to gain and hold power in the text or to engage a reader. The main objective of the interdisciplinary study is to find out how the frameworks of cognitive poetics, cognitive psychology and reception theory could work together in order to outline a new cognitive reception theory.

In this seminar, I will examine the fails of narration and the difficulties of reading instructive metafiction. Vladimir Nabokov's short story The Vane Sisters will serve to probe the prospective collaboration of different approaches to literary narrative. The way gaps and context work in the act of reading as well as the relation reading - blindness will constitute the nodal points of discussion. Context seems to have a pointedly nodal role for the conditioning of reading metafiction. What then are the textual conditions for the constraining of context in it? How are the dynamic relations and associations being actualized in metafiction? If etymologically context is the 'weaved together', then how do the associatively weaved textual schemata give rise to coherence? How is the plurality of meanings being configured? When does reading turn out to be unreading? In addition, the text's having the reader "in mind" is to be explored in comparison to the reader's minding the gaps in the story. A more theoretical understanding of the gap (Wolfgang Iser), as well as the role of ‘gappiness' (Bernaerts, De Geest, Herman, and Vervaeck), will serve as ground to study the transgressions of the reader in-between the instructions and the gaps, thus seeing the reader taking the place of a gap to be filled in/by the text.

Curious parties are welcome to read the short story under discussion at:



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