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GROUNDWORK

READING THEORY

Writers read with a difference. When they read other writers, they constantly ask “How’d he do that?” or “How can I use that in my work?” Writers are cannibals. They eat other writers. Ingest them. Similarly, when a writer reads critical theory they are more interested in appropriating theory as a tool to make new work than in using theory as a way of interpreting existing work.

This is distinct from the pure literary theorist (or academic) in that the critic uses theory to parse, to deconstruct, the meaning of a work that is complete. Theory provides a guide to understanding and appreciation of literature in general, the given work in specific, and constructs a way of thinking about literature that has a beauty separate ...

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