Ready reader one: recovering reading as an ambient practice

Gadd, I ORCID: 0000-0002-6154-5990 (2020) 'Ready reader one: recovering reading as an ambient practice.' In: Abba, T, Dovey, J and Pullinger, K, eds. Ambient literature: towards a new poetics of situated writing and reading practices. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, pp. 27-51. ISBN 9783030414559

12222.pdf - Accepted Version
Repository Terms Apply.

Download (1MB) | Preview
Official URL:


Readers learn to forget themselves. We are taught that good reading is inward and affective, and that good readers are silent, still and solitary. The physicality of the printed book facilitates this: we are so habituated to its forms that it all but disappears in our hands. Paradoxically, such ‘disembodiment’ requires a submission to the text’s material form: we have been ‘readied’ as readers not to pay attention to the book as an object. This, though, is relatively modern: for most of literate history, reading has been experienced as situational and embodied, as an ambient practice. This chapter offers an ambient history of reading, from St Augustine’s famous textual revelation in an Italian garden to Kate Pullinger’s Breathe, arguing that ambient literature allows us to rediscover ‘the pleasures of reflexivity’ (to use Christina Lupton’s phrase) by re-engaging with a kind of reading practice that has been for the most part marginalised and deprecated.

Item Type: Book Chapter or Section
Keywords: reading, history of the book, ambient literature
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z004 Books. Writing. Paleography
Divisions: School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
Research Centres and Groups: Making Books: Creativity, Print Culture, and the Digital Research Centre
UoA: English Literature & Language
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2020 11:26
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2023 05:30
URI / Page ID:
Request a change to this item or report an issue Request a change to this item or report an issue
Update item (repository staff only) Update item (repository staff only)