The Theory and Practice of Reception Study : Reading Race and Gender in Twain, Faulkner, Ellison, and Morrison book cover
1st Edition

The Theory and Practice of Reception Study
Reading Race and Gender in Twain, Faulkner, Ellison, and Morrison

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after April 20, 2022
ISBN 9781032211220
April 20, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
192 Pages

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Book Description

This book examines novels of Faulkner and Morrison as well as Mark Twain and Ralph Ellison in order to show that their works forcefully undermine the racial and sexual divisions characterizing both the South and contemporary culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Moreover, the book discusses theories of reader-response and reception study and elaborates a theory of reception study based on the historical or "archeological" methods of Michel Foucault, As a consequence, unlike most studies of American literature, which discuss its historical contexts or prescribe its readers’ responses, this book explains the reception of these works, including the academic criticism and reviews and, because the internet exerts immense influence in the 21st century, the on-line responses of ordinary readers. Unlike most reception studies, this book examines the institutional contexts of the readers’ responses.

Table of Contents


Ch. 1: Aesthetic Theory: From Adorno to Cultural History

Ch. 2: Reading in history and in theory

Ch. 3: Mark Twain’s Detective Fiction: From The Stolen White Elephant and The Double-Barrelled Detective Story to The Adventures of Pudd’nHead Wilson.

Ch. 4: Faulkner’s Subversive Modernism: Light in August

Ch. 5: Ellison’s Invisible Man: Black Literature as American Literature

Ch.6: Three days Before the Shooting: Modernism and Democracy in/and American Literature

Ch.7: Toni Morrison’s Beloved: The Forgotten History of Slavery and Patriarchy

Ch. 8: Toni Morrison’s A Mercy: The Critique of Patriarchy and History’s Lost Opportunities.


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Philip Goldstein earned a B.A. in English from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in English from Temple University and was promoted to full professor at the University of Delaware in 2001. With James Machor, he edited Reception Study: From Literary Theory to Cultural Studies (Routledge 2001).