Tuesday 18 November 2008

The Solitary Vice

Mikita Brottman, who holds a doctorate in English Language and Literature from Oxford University, has recently written a book entitled The Solitary Vice: Against Reading. Although the subtitle of this book is purportedly intended to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek (and perhaps, deliberately controversial for the purposes of marketing), Brottman is of the opinion that reading has become dangerously fetishized by modern culture which tends to over-value literature, and that reading literature might in fact be detrimental for some people. More specifically, she puts forth a hypothesis that is in direct contrast with much of what has been expressed on this site: Brottman believes that reading literature may be personally damaging with respect to one’s capacity for social interaction and social integration. You can listen to an interview in which she describes her book and her perspective below, conducted by Jesse Thorn as part of his radio show The Sound of Young America. While I will withhold extensive comment until readers have had a chance to familiarize themselves with her ideas, it goes without saying that we here at OnFiction disagree with her thesis. You can also read another interview with Dr. Brottman here, and read a review of her book in the LA Times here.

The Sound of Young America interviews Mikita Brottman

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