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The Performance of Reading

An Essay in the Philosophy of Literature

Peter Kivy

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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Philosophie


The Performance of Reading argues that there are distinctanalogies between "silent" reading and artistic performance, and sofashions the new role of the reader as performer. * * An original and insightful exploration of the act of reading bythe leading scholar in the field. * Discusses the history of reading and the transitions fromreading aloud to reading silently, and the changing role ofliterature as communal, active experience to a more privateendeavor.


(David Davies, Journal of Aesthetics andArt Criticism (vol. 66, issue 1)
"[T]his book is a mine of intriguing speculations, ingeniousargument, and stimulating suggestions, made even more attractive byKivy's engaging style."
(Eighteenth-Century Studies)
"Kivy's is a highly welcome book ... .One hopes that Kivy'shighly original, thought-provoking book betokens a new wave ofscholarship."
--Gary Iseminger, Carleton College
"As always, [Kivy's] style is clear, lively, and engaging. InThe Performance of Reading he offers a bold newinterpretation of what the reading of literature is. The thesis ofthis monograph is simple: reading literature is a performance--moreprecisely, a silent one. 'I read, therefore I perform' ... Readershave an 'experience' not different from the one the ancients hadwhen Homer was performed. It is still as if a voice in one'shead is telling a story. Overall, this work is a wonderful additionto the understanding of literature." (Choice)"Peter Kivy is probably the most respected aesthetician currentlyactive in the English-speaking philosophical world, and this bookis a wholly typical Kivy product, informed by his deep knowledge ofmusic, literature and the history of philosophy from Plato throughthe 18th century to the present day, and written with hischaracteristic clarity, charm, and dry wit."
--Noël Carroll, Temple University
"In his new book, Peter Kivy has opened a new domain ofphilosophical discussion. The Performance of Reading is sureto have the leading journals of aesthetics buzzing with debate, andwill also attract and repay the close attention of literarytheorists."
--Alex Neill, University of Southampton
"Kivy develops his striking thesis with characteristic elegance,flair and ingenuity. The Performance of Reading is original,provocative, and bound to generate debate."



Literature, Literaturwissenschaft, Literary & Cultural Theory, Philosophy, Philosophie, Literatur- u. Kulturtheorie, Literaturphilosophie, Philosophy of Literature