English Research Seminar Series

Mobilising Readers and Reading Mobility

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As part of the School of Arts and Humanities English Research seminar series, Dr Veronika Schuchter, University of Innsbruck presents Mobilising Readers and Reading Mobility: Aritha van Herk’s Restlessness (1998) and Zadie Smith’s The Embassy of Cambodia (2013).

  • From: Wednesday 11 May 2016, 1 pm
  • To: Wednesday 11 May 2016, 2 pm
  • Location: 114, Ada Byron King building, Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Campus, Clifton Lane, Nottingham, NG11 8NS

Past event

Event details

As part of the School of Arts and Humanities English Research seminar series, Dr Veronika Schuchter, University of Innsbruck, presents Mobilising Readers and Reading Mobility: Aritha van Herk's Restlessness (1998) and Zadie Smith's The Embassy of Cambodia (2013).

Abstract

Both van Herk and Smith are writers who reject literary labelling and passionately work against the constraints of genre. They are equally invested in exploring the relationship between author and reader, aiming to transcend conventional notions of active writers and passive readers.

In this paper, I want to demonstrate how the authors' commitment to activating their readership is also heavily reflected in how they navigate narrative diversity. For this, I have selected two texts that deal with female mobility in arguably antithetic ways: van Herk's "anti-travel book" tells the story of a woman who wants to put an end to her compulsive travel habits by hiring an assassin to kill her in a hotel room.

Smith's miniature novel centres around a domestic servant with extremely limited spatial and social mobility who nevertheless keeps her body and mind in a constant state of flux. Both narratives contain moments that disrupt the reading experience, and, by placing mobility centrally in form and content, I argue, the texts prompt the reader to reconsider her own position as well as actively participate in the exchange between her and the writer.

Veronika is currently a Visiting Scholar at Nottingham Trent University where her doctoral studies are supported by the Austrian Ministry of Science. She is particularly interested in feminist and postcolonial theory as well as literary modernism and contemporary women's writing. She is the treasurer of the European Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (EACLALS) and steering group member of the Postgraduate Contemporary Women's Writing Network (PG CWWN).

Please note: for the remainder of the academic year the English Research Seminars will take place in ABK 114.

For further information, please contact Sarah Jackson.

Location details

Room/Building:

114, Ada Byron King building

Address:

Nottingham Trent University
Clifton Campus
Clifton Lane
Nottingham
NG11 8NS

Past event

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