Reflect a little 2

February 21, 2003

I was tickled by Alan Sinfield's view of reading. Apparently ethnicity, gender, sexuality and class dictate our book choice. Gosh. But that's only our starting point. The process of reading is hopefully more than an exercise in narcissism, a holding-up of the mirror to self. The greater part is to take you beyond yourself, to see as others might see.

This is one of literature's supreme achievements. No wonder Sinfield is scornful of the term despite being an English professor. Isn't there just the teeniest touch of bad faith? As there is in his being a white middle-class male denouncing white middle-class males for stipulating reading norms?

Gary Day
De Montfort University

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