By Janice A. Radway
Janice Radway means that the numerous number of books prompt by way of the Book-of-the-Month membership through the years has been instrumental in formulating middlebrow literary style in the United States and in defining the needs of the center classification. here's her passionate exploration of studying, literary execs, and the nature of tradition.
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Extra resources for A feeling for books: the Book-of-the-Month Club, literary taste, and middle-class desire
It also suggests that I have managed to develop a third perspective that can adjudicate between them in balanced, equable fashion. In fact, neither is true. My ambivalence is persistent and real. The effect of the resulting dual perspective is more like that produced by newly acquired bifocals that render the world in fractured form across a disjunctive, arbitrary line. Just when you feel you have things in focus, a swift tilt of the head or an inadvertent dip in the gaze alters your perspective and places the world at a different, disorienting distance.
Her sensitive comments about form were especially useful as I tried to integrate better the disparate parts of the book. At a very early stage in my research, Dick Ohmann, Alan Trachtenberg, Paul DiMaggio, and Roland Marchand asked the hard questions that pushed me to begin my historical inquiry into the origins of the club. Their questions were then added to and extended by others at the many universities where I presented some of my preliminary findings. I thank everyone involved who organized and attended those lectures, but I especially want to acknowledge how helpful I found the comments of Joan Rubin, Nancy Armstrong, Christina Crosby, Ann Cvetkovich, Evan Watkins, Gordon Hutner, David Hall, Bob Gross, Carl Kaestle, Andrew Parker, Eric Lott, Jay Fliegelman, Peter Rabinowitz, Barbara Sicherman, Meredith McGill, Mary Poovey, Robin Kelley, and Phil Wegener.
Drew Faust and Charles Rosenberg are so much a part of my intellectual life that it would be impossible to list the ways they have supported, encouraged, and assisted me over the years as I have worked on this project. I thank them for talks various and far reaching and for our many Philadelphia and Wellfleet dinners, for the mornings at Newcomb Hollow, and for our innumerable, often befuddled conversations about child-rearing. Sharon O'Brien, Barbara Harris, Nancy Hewitt, Ken Wissoker, and Jean O'Barr have listened to me whine and worry about this project for so long that I am sure they are as glad as I am to see it finished.
A feeling for books: the Book-of-the-Month Club, literary taste, and middle-class desire by Janice A. Radway