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University of Iowa News Release

 

Feb. 23, 2011

UI Press releases 'Reading as Therapy' March 15

The University of Iowa Press will release "Reading as Therapy: What Contemporary Fiction Does for Middle-Class Americans" by Timothy Aubry on March 15.

The book will be available at bookstores or directly from the press, 800-621-2736 or http://www.uiowapress.org. Customers in Europe, the Middle East or Africa may order from Eurospan Group at http://www.eurospanbookstore.com. It is also available as a pdf e-book: http://www.uiowapress.org/search/browse-by-subject/browse-EBOOKS.html.

Why do Americans read contemporary fiction? Aubry argues that contemporary fiction serves primarily as a therapeutic tool for lonely, dissatisfied middle-class American readers, one that validates their own private dysfunctions while supporting elusive communities of strangers unified by shared feelings.

He traces the growth and proliferation of psychological concepts focused on the subjective interior within mainstream, middle-class society and the impact this has had on fiction.

To uncover the many unpredictable ways in which contemporary literature answers the psychological needs of its readers, Aubry considers several different venues of reader-response -- including Oprah's Book Club and Amazon customer reviews -- the promotional strategies of publishing houses, and a variety of contemporary texts, ranging from Khaled Hosseini's "The Kite Runner" to Anita Shreve's "The Pilot's Wife" to David Foster Wallace's "Infinite Jest."

Rita Felski, author of "Uses of Literature," commented, "Is literature a form of therapy? Should it be? Tim Aubry takes the familiar complaint about literature's therapeutic uses and patiently unfolds their hidden complexities in this lucid and eloquent book. Combining intellectual generosity with critical acumen, his argument offers fresh insight into contemporary fiction, middlebrow culture, and larger questions of how and why we read."

Aubry is an associate professor of English at Baruch College, where he specializes in twentieth-century American literature, contemporary fiction, modernism, feminism, and popular culture.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: UI Press: allison-means@uiowa.edu. Winston Barclay, University News Services, winston-barclay@uiowa.edu