• View author and book videos on our YouTube channel.

  • Paperback: $15.00 - In Stock
  • Quantity
  • Add To Bag
  • Introduction: Reading Effects

    Rooney, E.

    The Wayward Life of Objects

    Cheng, A. A.

    What is reading; what can it do; and can we imagine a hermeneutics beyond suspicion? This brief essay meditates on the possibilities of what might be called a hermeneutics of susceptibility that can accommodate our ideological and aesthetic complicity in any act of reading while still understanding the political risks and gains of such acknowledgment. This is also an argument about how we read surfaces: the surfaces of texts, bodies, and objects.

    Narrative and Noncausal Bargaining

    Flesch, W.

    Most philosophical accounts of the puzzle of emotional engagement with characters we know to be fictional treat our emotion as static. This essay argues that it's part of the way humans interact with each other as a social species that a highly dynamic form of noncausal willing and noncausal bargaining enters into all our cooperative relationships with each other. Such bargaining can be illuminated by game theory and, in particular, by the version of prisoner's dilemma known as "Newcomb's problem." Newcomb's problem models some of our most important relationships with each other and also some of the most central aspects of our relationship with narratives whose outcomes we care intensely about even though our caring cannot affect those outcomes. Fictional characters are especially immune to the exercise of a reader's or audience's will, so Newcomb's problem is particularly relevant to the noncausal nature of the bargaining that readers engage in.

    Plastic Reading

    Galloway, A. R.

    In her book Plasticity at the Dusk of Writing, philosopher Catherine Malabou tells a story about the historical end of reading and writing and their reinvention in a new form. The new mode is seen most vividly, suggests Malabou, in the cerebral plasticity of the brain, but also holds sway in philosophy and literature. The concept of the plastic—which she defines, using the image of plastic explosive, as the capacity to give form and the capacity to take form—refers to mutability, change, exchange, morphing, metamorphosis, and transformation. Plastic reading is a structural approach that aims to document the "structure of philosophy" that remains after a text has been subjected to certain analyses. This essay describes Malabou's vision of plastic reading as a living relation to texts in which metamorphosis regulates the metabolism between stasis and aleatory change.

    Sociocognitive Complexity

    Zunshine, L.

    My essay emphasizes the social aspect of our engagement with fictional narratives by drawing on cognitive scientists' research into "theory of mind," also known as "mind reading": our evolved adaptation for explaining people's behavior in terms of their mental states, such as thoughts, desires, feelings, and intentions. I introduce the term "sociocognitive complexity" to describe patterns of embedment of mental states within mental states in fiction and discuss the role of social situations featuring third-level embedment—a mind within a mind within a mind—in prose fiction, drama, and narrative poetry. I further explain that writers make some characters more "cognitively complex" than others (that is, capable of embedding more mental states) and suggest that approaching fiction in terms of its sociocognitive complexity is ultimately a historicist inquiry. That is, if we want to understand what factors influence a writer's decision about which characters will carry on complex mind-reading reflections and which will have to settle for simpler ones, we have to look into historically contingent genre conventions and contemporary ideological preoccupations of the societ

  • Permission to Photocopy (coursepacks)

    If you are requesting permission to photocopy material for classroom use, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center at copyright.com;

    If the Copyright Clearance Center cannot grant permission, you may request permission from our Copyrights & Permissions Manager (use Contact Information listed below).

    Permission to Reprint

    If you are requesting permission to reprint DUP material (journal or book selection) in another book or in any other format, contact our Copyrights & Permissions Manager (use Contact Information listed below).


    Many images/art used in material copyrighted by Duke University Press are controlled, not by the Press, but by the owner of the image. Please check the credit line adjacent to the illustration, as well as the front and back matter of the book for a list of credits. You must obtain permission directly from the owner of the image. Occasionally, Duke University Press controls the rights to maps or other drawings. Please direct permission requests for these images to permissions@dukeupress.edu.
    For book covers to accompany reviews, please contact the publicity department.

    Subsidiary Rights/Foreign Translations

    If you're interested in a Duke University Press book for subsidiary rights/translations, please contact permissions@dukeupress.edu. Include the book title/author, rights sought, and estimated print run.

    Disability Requests

    Instructions for requesting an electronic text on behalf of a student with disabilities are available here.

    Rights & Permissions Contact Information

    Email: permissions@dukeupress.edu
    Email contact for coursepacks: asstpermissions@dukeupress.edu
    Fax: 919-688-4574
    Duke University Press
    Rights and Permissions
    905 W. Main Street
    Suite 18B
    Durham, NC 27701

    For all requests please include:
    1. Author's name. If book has an editor that is different from the article author, include editor's name also.
    2. Title of the journal article or book chapter and title of journal or title of book
    3. Page numbers (if excerpting, provide specifics)
    For coursepacks, please also note: The number of copies requested, the school and professor requesting
    For reprints and subsidiary rights, please also note: Your volume title, publication date, publisher, print run, page count, rights sought
Explore More

Sign up for Subject Matters email updates to receive discounts, new book announcements, and more.


Create a reading list or add to an existing list. Sign-in or register now to continue.

Contact Us

  • Duke University Press
  • 905 W. Main St. Ste 18-B
  • Durham, NC 27701
  • U.S. phone (toll-free): 888-651-0122
  • International: 1-919-688-5134
  • orders@dukeupress.edu