Researching literary reading as social practice

Bibliographic details

Allington, D. and Swann, J. (2009b) ‘Researching literary reading as social practice’. Language and Literature 18 (3): 219-230.


This article first discusses ‘the reader’ as generally conceived within literary studies (including stylistics), grounding its claims with an empirical analysis of articles published in Language and Literature from 2004 to 2008. It then surveys the many ways in which real readers have been empirically investigated within cultural studies, the history of reading, and cultural sociology. Lastly, it introduces the remaining papers in this special issue as contributions to the study of language and literature.


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This paper was both an introduction and a peer-reviewed contribution to the special issue of Language and Literature, ‘Literary reading as social practice’ (Allington and Swann, 2009).