Regionalism and the Reading Class
Wendy Griswold draws on cases from Italy, Norway, and the United States to show that fans of books form their own reading class, with a distinctive demographic profile separate from the general public. This reading class is modest in size but intense in its literary practices. Paradoxically these educated and mobile elites work hard to put down local roots by, among other strategies, exploring regional writing. Ultimately, due to the technological, economic, and political advantages they wield, cosmopolitan readers are able to celebrate, perpetuate, and reinvigorate local culture.
Griswold’s study will appeal to students of cultural sociology and the history of the book—and her findings will be welcome news to anyone worried about the future of reading or the eclipse of place.
1. Place, Regional Culture, and Literary Regionalism
2. The Reading Class
3. Cowbirds in America
4. Paradox in Italy
5. State Patronage in Norway and the U. S.
Conclusion: The Reading Class and Regionalism
Appendix A. Authors from Survey2000
Appendix B. Most Popular Authors Overall and in Nine Regions