• What Is A Reader? The Radical Potentiality of Goodreads to Disrupt the Literary Canon

    Author(s):
    Ashley Champagne (see profile)
    Date:
    2020
    Group(s):
    DH2020
    Subject(s):
    American literature, Digital humanities, Digital humanities research and methodology
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    Digital Humanities 2020
    Conf. Org.:
    Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO)
    Conf. Loc.:
    Virtual
    Conf. Date:
    July 20-24
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/9rgd-t056
    Abstract:
    Matthew Kirshenbaum’s essay “What Is An @uthor?” argues that today’s social media landscape provides authors with a different means to confront their public personas. Authors can tweet back to their readers, like William Gibson tweeted to an MLA panel in January of 2015 on his novel The Peripheral, to engage in immediate and digitally-mediated conversations about their work on a global scale. In this short paper I ask “What is a Reader?” because the Amazon-owned social media site, Goodreads, elevates interpretations of literature by “citizen readers.” While literary culture was once accessible primarily to those who had the means to acquire formal education, now literature is widely accessible and frequently free online; this shift in access is tied to an evolving version of literary knowledge in the digital age. I argue that Goodreads has the radical potentiality to disrupt our literary canon, which still largely uplifts White male authors over female authors and authors of color, by offering citizen readers a powerful place to comment on and analyze literature more broadly even as the algorithmic quantification of literature on the site also reinforces the current canon.
    Metadata:
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    1 year ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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