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This essay surveys the literate culture of the antebellum and Civil War eras among marginal southerners – African Americans, both free and enslaved, and poor and middle-class whites – and explores examples of the ways reading and writing, though quite distinct in formal pedagogies, blended together in the literary lives of the self-educated. Focused especially on Basil Armstrong Thomasson, a yeoman farmer in North Carolina whose diary records his reading practices as well as original verse, and John M. Washington, a Virginia man who kept a diary while enslaved, the essay presents a study in the surprising complexity and variegation of the textual landscape such people inhabited and helped create. It also discusses the scarcer archival traces of the literacy practices of ordinary southern women.
In “Post-Civil War Black Childhoods,” Nazera Sadiq Wright surveys some of the vast body of Black Reconstruction-era literature that features Black children as central characters, with special emphasis on Steward’s serialized Christian Recorder short story “The Gem of the Alley” and attention to work by Collins and Harper. Wright shows how repeated (and often accurate) representations of the little charitable institutions did to protect Black children contrasts with orphaned Black children’s dutiful and intentional displays of charity and good will toward those less fortunate. Wright asserts that, especially in frameworks centered on family reunification, Black child characters express the damage from class and racial divides as well as the healing grace of Black community activism in the post-Civil War era.
Moving from the specificities of the manuscript itself to the conditions of reading and recitation, this chapter looks at when and how the Gospel lectionary was used in the Divine Liturgy, while also investigating the cultural role and conception that the practice of reading held in the post-iconoclastic Byzantine world. This presents us with a survey of not only liturgical practices, but also how reading was understood as being a process of divine inspiration, akin to being possessed, which allowed the speakers in the text to be embodied through the reader. The chapter surveys not only the classical heritage of these ideas, but also contemporaneous descriptions of chanters and recitation competitions held in Constantinople, which allow us to understand the cultural importance and milieu under which these illuminated Gospel lectionaries were produced and used.
In considering the uses of the lectionary by readers, this chapter focuses on the effect that the sound and acoustics of the readings’ chanting had in the space of a church like Hagia Sophia. By looking not only at ritual but also the architecture and decoration of the church, the chapter argues that the decoration of churches and the uses of the Gospel lectionaries responded to one another. Focusing on the plaque above the Imperial Doorway, for example, we see a place where an abridged lectionary is depicted, citing Gospel readings and also omitting key words, which the manuscripts show us were to be given sonic emphasis by chanters. Therefore, the argument is that architectural decorations in the church played with the impact and delivery of the chanted Gospels in order to reflect on the salvation that the readings conveyed and guaranteed to the faithful.
The grain size of orthographic representations prompted by a consistent orthography (like Spanish or Basque) increases if reading is simultaneously learned in another language with an inconsistent orthography (like French). Here, we aimed to identify item properties that trigger this grain-size accommodation in bilingual reading. Twenty-five French–Basque and 25 Spanish–Basque bilingual children attending Grade 3 read Basque words and pseudowords containing “complex” letter clusters mapping to one sound in French but several sounds in Basque or Spanish, and “simple” letter clusters mapping to the same sound structure in all three languages. Only French speaking children read “complex” Basque words faster than “simple” ones, suggesting that they accessed multi-letter “French” units to boost lexical processing. A negative complexity effect was found for pseudowords across groups. We discuss the existence of flexible cross-linguistic transfer in bilingual reading, proposing that the grain size of orthographic representations adjusts to item-specific characteristics during reading.
Described by the TLS as 'a formidable bibliographical achievement … destined to become a key reference work for Shakespeareans', Shakespeare in Print is now issued in a revised and expanded edition offering a wealth of new material, including a chapter which maps the history of digital editions from the earliest computer-generated texts to the very latest digital resources. Murphy's narrative offers a masterful overview of the history of Shakespeare publishing and editing, teasing out the greater cultural significance of the ways in which the plays and poems have been disseminated and received over the centuries from Shakespeare's time to our own. The opening chapters have been completely rewritten to offer close engagement with the careers of the network of publishers and printers who first brought Shakespeare to print, additional material has been added to all chapters, and the chronological appendix has been updated and expanded.
We report two offline and two eye-movement experiments examining non-native (L2) sentence processing during and after reanalysis of temporarily ambiguous sentences like “While Mary dressed the baby laughed happily”. Such sentences cause reanalysis at the main clause verb (“laughed”), as the temporarily ambiguous noun phrase (“the baby”) may initially be misanalysed as the direct object of the subordinate clause verb (“dressed”). The offline experiments revealed that L2ers have difficulty reanalysing temporarily ambiguous sentences with a greater persistence of the initially assigned misinterpretation than native (L1) speakers. In the eye-movement experiments, we found that L2ers complete reanalysis similarly to L1ers but fail to fully erase the memory trace of the initially assigned interpretation. Our results suggested that the source of L2 reanalysis difficulty is a failure to erase the initially assigned misinterpretation from memory rather than a failure to conduct syntactic reanalysis.
Long before Ibsen became a world-famous playwright, he achieved the status of bestseller in his home markets. His books were eventually printed in first editions of 10,000 copies, and whenever a new book came on the market it was greeted by eagerly awaiting readers throughout Scandinavia. This chapter explores the publication and reception of Ibsen’s books, and pays special attention to Ibsen’s readership. The chapter is based mainly on archival studies of sales’ and borrowers’ records from a number of Scandinavian bookshops and libraries, which collectively provide a unique insight into Ibsen’s readership. The study finds that wholesalers, academics, bookkeepers as well as craftsmen, peasant students and married and unmarried women were among the readers. His clientele can roughly be divided into two main groups: a primary group comprising readers who could afford to buy Ibsen’s books, consisting mainly of educated and well-to-do members of the public, and a secondary, less affluent group, largely dependent on libraries in order to access his writings. By the turn of the century, Ibsen’s books were published in cheaper and larger editions, which increased sales among readers of limited means.
Deaf readers may have larger perceptual spans than ability-matched hearing native English readers, allowing them to read more efficiently (Belanger & Rayner, 2015). To further test the hypothesis that deaf and hearing readers have different perceptual spans, the current study uses eye-movement data from two experiments in which deaf American Sign Language–English bilinguals, hearing native English speakers, and hearing Chinese–English bilinguals read semantically unrelated sentences and answered comprehension questions after a proportion of them. We analyzed skip rates, fixation times, and accuracy on comprehension questions. In addition, we analyzed how lexical properties of words affected skipping behavior and fixation durations. Deaf readers skipped words more often than native English speakers, who skipped words more often than Chinese–English bilinguals. Deaf readers had shorter first-pass fixation times than the other two groups. All groups’ skipping behaviors were affected by lexical frequency. Deaf readers’ comprehension did not differ from hearing Chinese–English bilinguals, despite greater skipping and shorter fixation times. Overall, the eye-tracking findings align with Belanger’s word processing efficiency hypothesis. Effects of lexical frequency on skipping behavior indicated further that eye movements during reading remain under cognitive control in deaf readers.
What do Christians do when they read? How can Christian reading be understood anthropologically? Anthropologists of Christianity have offered many ethnographic descriptions of the interplay among people, words, and material objects across Christian groups, but descriptions of Christian reading have often posited an androgynous reader. In response to this we begin from the observation that while reading cannot be done without words, it also cannot be done without a body. We propose that an analytic approach of placing language and materiality (including bodies) together will help clarify that reading texts is an embodied practice, while not undermining the importance of working with words. We draw inspiration from the recent interest in bringing linguistic anthropology and materiality studies together into the same analytic frame of “language materiality.” We explore a language-materiality approach to reading by comparing how the biblical story of Mary and Martha was read by Protestant women in two historical situations: 1920s Norway and the 1950s United States. We argue that in these cases the readers’ gendered, raced, and classed bodies were central to the activity of reading texts, including their bodies’ material engagements with the world, such as carrying out women's work. We suggest that paying attention to embodied reading—that is, readers’ social entanglements with both language and materiality—yields a fuller analysis of what reading is in particular historical situations, and ultimately questions the notion of a singular Protestant semiotic ideology that works consistently toward purification.
Most studies on lexical priming have examined single words presented in isolation, despite language users rarely encountering words in such cases. The present study builds upon this by examining both within-language identity priming and across-language translation priming in sentential contexts. Highly proficient Spanish–English bilinguals read sentence-question pairs, where the sentence contained the prime and the question contained the target. At earlier stages of processing, we find evidence only of within-language identity priming; at later stages of processing, however, across-language translation priming surfaces, and becomes as strong as within-language identity priming. Increasing the time between the prime sentence and target question results in strengthened priming at the latest stages of processing. These results replicate previous findings at the single-word level but do so within sentential contexts, which has implications both for accounts of priming via automatic spreading activation as well as for accounts of persistence attested in spontaneous speech corpora.
In the present study we challenge the generally accepted view based primarily on L1 data that surface linguistic information decays rapidly during reading and that only propositional information is retained in memory. In two eye-tracking experiments, we show that both L1 and L2 adult readers retain verbatim information of a text. In particular, the reading behaviour of L2 German learners revealed that they were sensitive to both lexical (synonyms) and syntactic (active/passive alternation) substitutions during a second reading of the texts, while L1 exhibited only reduced sensitivity to the lexical substitutions. The results deliver an important piece of evidence that complies with several current processing (e.g., Shallow Structure Hypothesis), acquisition (Declarative/Procedural Model) and cognitive (e.g., Fuzzy Trace Theory) approaches and adds a new dimension to their empirical and theoretical basis.
This chapter explores the variety of literature available to young people during the Harlem Renaissance, paying specific attention to the contributions of W. E. B. Du Bois, Carter G. Woodson, Effie Lee Newsome, Langston Hughes, and Arna Bontemps. Children’s literature took shape through periodicals, community theatre, black-owned publications, and mainstream publishing houses with an interracial audience. Texts embraced a new vision of African American childhood as sophisticated, capable, knowledgeable, and courageous, because literacy rates for young people often outmatched those of adults, children were imagined through texts as cultural leaders who would help reinvent the black community. Writers also employed children’s literature as a site of community galvanization, drawing together adults and children through the veneration of black history and identity. Children were imagined as politically invested and deeply aware of the racist culture that surrounded them. Children’s literature aimed to develop readers’ racial sensibility in order to propel social change.
Numerous studies have investigated the neural correlates of reading in two languages. However, reliable conclusions have not been established as to the relationship of the neural correlates underlying reading in the first (L1) and second (L2) language. Here, we conduct meta-analyses to address this issue. We found that compared to L1, the left inferior parietal lobule showed greater activation during L2 processing across all bilingual studies. We then divided the literature into two categories: bilingual participants who learned two languages with different writing systems and bilinguals who learned two languages with similar writing systems. We found that language differences in the neural correlates of reading were generally modulated by writing system similarity, except the region of the left inferior parietal lobule, which showed preferences for L2 reading in both types of bilinguals. These findings provide new insights into the brain mechanisms underlying reading in bilinguals.
This study examined longitudinal associations between performance on the Rey–Osterrieth Complex Figure–Developmental Scoring System (ROCF-DSS) at 8 years of age and academic outcomes at 16 years of age in 133 children with dextro-transposition of the great arteries (d-TGA).
The ROCF-DSS was administered at the age of 8 and the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test, First and Second Edition (WIAT/WIAT-II) at the ages of 8 and 16, respectively. ROCF-DSS protocols were classified by Organization (Organized/Disorganized) and Style (Part-oriented/Holistic). Two-way univariate (ROCF-DSS Organization × Style) ANCOVAs were computed with 16-year academic outcomes as the dependent variables and socioeconomic status (SES) as the covariate.
The Organization × Style interaction was not statistically significant. However, ROCF-DSS Organization at 8 years was significantly associated with Reading, Math, Associative, and Assembled academic skills at 16 years, with better organization predicting better academic performance.
Performance on the ROCF-DSS, a complex visual-spatial problem-solving task, in children with d-TGA can forecast academic performance in both reading and mathematics nearly a decade later. These findings may have implications for identifying risk in children with other medical and neurodevelopmental disorders affecting brain development.
Orthographic knowledge is an important contributor to reading and spelling. However, empirical research is unclear about its long-lasting influence along with literacy development. We examined whether reading and spelling benefitted from an independent contribution of lexical and sublexical orthographic knowledge in European Portuguese, an intermediate depth orthography. This was investigated longitudinally from Grade 2 to 5 with two cohorts of Portuguese children, using common measures of orthographic knowledge, and word and pseudoword reading and spelling tasks. Regression analyses showed that lexical orthographic knowledge assessed at the beginning of Grade 2 predicted word reading at the beginning of Grade 3 (p < .05, variance explained = 6%), word spelling at the end of Grade 2 (p < .05, variance explained = 6%) and pseudoword spelling at the beginning of Grade 3 (p < .05, variance explained = 8%). They also revealed that lexical orthographic knowledge assessed at the beginning of Grade 4 predicted word spelling at the end of Grade 4 (p < .001, variance explained = 21%). Differently, sublexical orthographic knowledge evaluated at the beginning of Grade 2 and of Grade 4 only contributed to pseudoword spelling at the beginning of Grade 3 (p < .01, variance explained = 12%), and to pseudoword reading at the end of Grade 5 (p < .01, variance explained = 9%), respectively. Therefore, orthographic knowledge predicted spelling more often and earlier than reading. Furthermore, the results suggest that the influence of orthographic knowledge may vary during literacy development and, along with findings from other studies, that this influence at the lexical level may depend on orthographic consistency.
The Conclusion draws connections between the Archaic and Classical discourse outlined in this book and the representation of dance, especially pantomime, in the Roman Imperial period. It focuses on a set of key passages in Lucian’s treatise On the Dance, suggesting that by reading dance with Lucian, we can further refine our perspective on the complex interplay between literature, culture, and the potential of the dancing body. I choose to conclude with Lucian in part because his character Lycinus offers an illuminating model for the creative, subversive, and provocative reading of dance. I show that Lycinus uses familiar forms in new ways and rescripts stories about dance encoded within earlier literature, yet in doing so, he also continues a tradition of using the description of solo dance to foreground generic exploration and experimentation – of bringing the unruly body into contact with the workings of a literary text. Reading dance with Lucian and Lycinus thus reveals how the collision of dance and literature bears fruit across diverse creative and cultural contexts.
Comprehending idioms (e.g., bite the bullet) requires that people appreciate their figurative meanings while suppressing literal interpretations of the phrase. While much is known about idioms, an open question is how healthy aging and noncanonical form presentation affect idiom comprehension when the task is to read sentences silently for comprehension. Here, younger and older adults read sentences containing idioms or literal phrases, while we monitored their eye movements. Idioms were presented in a canonical or a noncanonical form (e.g., bite the iron bullet). To assess whether people integrate figurative or literal interpretations of idioms, a disambiguating region that was figuratively or literally biased followed the idiom in each sentence. During early stages of reading, older adults showed facilitation for canonical idioms, suggesting a greater sensitivity to stored idiomatic forms. During later stages of reading, older adults showed slower reading times when canonical idioms were biased toward their literal interpretation, suggesting they were more likely to interpret idioms figuratively on the first pass. In contrast, noncanonical form presentation slowed comprehension of figurative meanings comparably in younger and older participants. We conclude that idioms may be more strongly entrenched in older adults, and that noncanonical form presentation slows comprehension of figurative meanings.
Voluntary societies and government initiatives stimulated the growth of reading communities in South Africa in the second half of the nineteenth century. A system of Parliamentary grants to establish public libraries in country towns and villages nurtured a lively reading culture. A condition was that the library should be open free-of-charge to the general public. This became one more reading space, and others included book societies, reading societies, literary societies, debating societies, mechanics institutes, and mutual improvement societies. This Element explains how reading communities used these spaces to promote cultural and literary development in a unique ethos of improvement, and to raise political awareness in South Africa's colonial transition to a Union government and racial segregation.
Victorian culture encouraged the identification of women readers with male narrators and characters as a vehicle for female submission to male representation through marriage. This chapter argues that wayward women readers were not appeased by masculine identification, but rather inspired by it to act beyond the domestic sphere. In contrast with women authors such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Charlotte Brontë, and George Eliot, who were criticized for adopting conventionally masculine styles or subject matter, women readers were exhorted from girlhood in conduct guides and John Ruskin’s Sesame and Lilies lectures to prepare for absorption into their husbands’ legal identities through identification with male characters and activities. Written during the debates on the reform of marriage law that would continue through the end of the century, and published on the eve of the 1857 Matrimonial Causes Act, Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh promotes a distinctively literary rather than marital mode of identification with masculinity. Instead of identifying herself with her future husband, an action she associates with self-erasure, Aurora models a wayward identification with male poetic muses that allows her to maintain her integrity as an artistic subject.