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RTP 2019-20: Core Series: Reading Practice - Dr Myna Trustram - 22-01-20

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Reading is about thinking and imagining all at the same time. It is about how you might use the facts and ideas you find to realise your own. It is as important to research as writing, experiment, practice, debate. The session will look at different ways of reading for research purposes.

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RTP 2019-20: Core Series: Reading Practice - Dr Myna Trustram - 22-01-20

  1. 1. Reading Practice PAHC research training programme, 22 January 2020 Dr Myna Trustram
  2. 2. Matisse The Inattentive Reader (1919)
  3. 3. A proposition Reading is a practice (as well as a hunt for information).
  4. 4. Some propositions • Moyra Davey • Alan Macfarlane • Deborah Britzman • Wilfred Bion • Samuel Beckett • Roland Barthes
  5. 5. Moyra Davey, The Problem of Reading (A Documents Book, 2003)
  6. 6. ‘… before you become a writer [or a researcher] you must first become a reader. Every hour spent reading is an hour spent learning to write.’ Robert Macfarlane, Guardian Review 22.9.12, p.14
  7. 7. In The Peregrine (JA Baker 1967) I saw how to describe the rapid actions of nature, and I experienced the power of Baker’s metaphors ... Arctic Dreams (1984) by Barry Lopez revealed to me the possibility of entwining cultural history, anthropology, travelogue, science and elegy … … and that lyricism is a function of precision – and that exact and exacting attention to the natural world is a kind of moral gaze.’ Robert Macfarlane, Guardian Review 22.9.12, p.14
  8. 8. ‘Reading … provokes … “aesthetic conflict”, an encounter with the enigmatic, unknown quality of the outside world tied both to our hope for finding beauty and our work of having to symbolise this search for life. Aesthetic conflicts remind us of our misreading: the ways we read regardless of what is presented, the way we read with desire and anxiety.’ Deborah P Britzman (2009), The Very Thought of Education: Psychoanalysis and the impossible professions. Albany: State University of New York Press
  9. 9. Difficulties of reading Idealisation of reading Reading means coming up against dependency, frustration and uncertainty. New ideas mean the loss of old ones. Reality becomes larger W.R.Bion (1961), Experiences in Groups, London: Tavistock Publications
  10. 10. … I have always been a poor reader, incurably inattentive, on the lookout for an elsewhere. The Letters of Samuel Beckett 1941-1956, p.465 (CUP)
  11. 11. Matisse The Inattentive Reader (1919)
  12. 12. And I think I can say, in no spirit of paradox, that the reading experiences which have affected me most are those that were best at sending me to that elsewhere. The Letters of Samuel Beckett 1941-1956, p.465 (CUP)
  13. 13. Roland Barthes Readerly text Writerly text “The pleasure of the text is not necessarily of a triumphant , heroic, muscular type. […] My pleasure can very well take the form of a drift. Drifting occurs whenever I do not respect the whole, and whenever, by dint of seeming driven about by language’s illusions, seductions, and intimidations, like a cork on the waves, I remain motionless, pivoting on the intractable bliss that binds me to the text (to the world).’ Roland Barthes, Trans: Richard Miller, The Pleasure of the Text, New York 1975, p18.
  14. 14. Read this text to yourself Whilst you read, notice: Your body Your emotions Are you having a dialogue with the writer? Can you concentrate?
  15. 15. Ways of reading scan, dip, skip, skim. speedily slowly analytically curiously critically responsively relationally word for word for pleasure, and confused.
  16. 16. Internet reading New forms of stimulus and new forms of reading An illusion of mastery No need to persist When stumped, you don’t need to consult another book and read again deeply It’s fast ‘Fracturing of attention and the attenuation of memory’* Easy to be romantic about curling up with a good book in front of a blazing fire. *Will Self
  17. 17. Virginia Woolf: “[feed] greedily and lavishly upon books of all sorts … follow your own instincts … use your own reason … come to your own conclusions.” Moyra Davey: “be open and sensitised, creative, always on the lookout for the thing that will nourish a known or intuited desire or inkling.” Moyra Davey, The Problem of Reading, Documents, 2003. p.38