1 to 3pm
A Defense of Leisure Reading
This paper attends to a peculiar defense of leisure reading, one that makes a case for the value of differentiated time. Jane Austen’s critiques of Quixotism in ;Northanger Abbey and her promotion of non-purposive pleasure in Mansfield Park suggest that the value of leisure reading may lie in its cultivating a double capacity for absorption and release, which in turn supports a sound discrimination between fictional and real worlds and a strict differentiation between work and leisure times. I also consider what these novels tell us about programs of study within which fiction features centrally, and reflect on the implications of Austen’s perspective to our own work as scholars of literature. Austen’s case for leisure reading as differentiated time, I propose, urges us to reframe our professional ambitions modestly.
Learn more about the speaker: Amit S. Yahav, University of Minnesota.
Organized by Timothy Campbell, University of Chicago; Lisa A. Freeman, University of Illinois at Chicago; Richard Squibbs, DePaul University; and Helen Thompson, Northwestern University.
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