First and second glances: working class Scottish readers and 'Things fall apart'

Smith, A. (2011) First and second glances: working class Scottish readers and 'Things fall apart'. In: Whittaker, D. (ed.) Chinua Achebe's 'Things Fall Apart': 1958-2008. Series: Cross/Cultures - Readings in the Post/Colonial Literatures in English (137). Rodopi: Amsterdam, pp. 149-160. ISBN 978-90-420-3396-2

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This paper reflects on research carried out over a number of years which investigated the reading of Things Fall Apart by a variety of (largely working class) Scottish readers. It examines what these readers made of Achebe’s novel, emphasising the active, interrogative and sometimes implicitly critical nature of the encounter. The decidedly active process of interpretation undertaken by these readers challenges our expectations around literary consumption, involving as they often did readers who ‘got lost’ in Achebe’s narrative, reworking it from the inside out. Moreover, these readings remind us in often startling ways that such encounters always take place somewhere and sometime. This active ‘making sense’ of Achebe’s novel and the historical events it describes was not a process which proceeded in a kind of intellectual seclusion, but was clearly related to those readers’ on-going attempts to make sense of their own subjective experiences, and those of the communities and localities of which they were a part.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Smith, Professor Andrew
Authors: Smith, A.
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PE English
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Cross / Cultures: Readings in the Postcolonial Literatures in English
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2011 Rodopi
First Published:First published in Cross / Cultures: Readings in the Postcolonial Literatures in English 137:
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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