Humane Readings

Essays on literary mediation and communication in honour of Roger D. Sell

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Since the 1980s, Roger D. Sell’s literary criticism has striven to take account of the (often conflicting) approaches available without compromising the human importance of the literary work: either in terms of its creation or its reception. Sell’s theory of literature draws strength from the interface between literary studies and linguistics and is grounded on the argument that literary making is a primary communicational act between human beings. Other critics have found Sell’s work inspirational.

This book both responds to Sell’s ideas and demonstrates the multifaceted potential of his work. Aware of his trajectory through Literary-Pragmatic, ‘Humanizing’ and ‘Mediating’ criticism, Humane Readings offers a series of original and focused studies which demonstrate the power, provenance and importance of Sell’s approach. Ranging in subject matter from the Early Modern Period to the present, a reconfiguration of literary criticism by contemporary readers and practitioners is urged here. Case studies are presented on a range of poetic, novelistic, dramatic and children’s works. Each illuminates different aspects of Sell’s critical thought.

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