Reader and 'So I am Glad' Book Review by ClemenceD

Reader and 'So I am Glad'
This paper discusses whether the reader exists independently of the text or if the text creates its reader in A. L. Kennedy's 'So I am Glad'.
# 106474 | 3,046 words | 12 sources | MLA | 2004 | FR
Published on Aug 07, 2008 in Literature (World) , Language (General)

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In this article, the writer notes that Jennifer M. Wilson, the narrator of A.L. Kennedy's 'So I am Glad', has decided to become a voice. The writer discusses that 'So I am Glad' is a romance, but not one of a common type. Besides being an impossible spiritual and sensual journey, it reveals itself as a complex postmodernist work of meta-fiction. The writer notes that Kennedy offers to her readers a meditation on the very power of writing and looks at how it brings her narrator Jennifer from indifference to passionate and compassionate love and self-discovery. The writer of this essay discusses that despite Kennedy's refusal to be pinned down to any literary 'philosophy', the richness of the novel appears to be a perfect example of showing the place that the reader takes in literature in general and, in particular, in relation with the text and its author. Thus, the text being an end in itself from a postmodernist eye, the author shows how independent the reader exists towards the literary text. However, since the text is a medium between the author and its reader, one is drawn to ask whether the author creates the reader or whether the reader is, indeed, another performer of the text.

From the Paper:

"Jennifer's possessive claim of these very specific moments of inviolability or privacy intensifies the text's self-referentiality, and Jennifer's self-consciousness of being a writer. This almost constant interaction between the intended reader and the text, with the reader entirely created out of the writer's mind, allows us to show the extent to which the reader is present, not only in the writer's mind, but also in the literary text itself. The text, at least in these instances, is what produces the reader. The reader is included within the text and, to some extent, is part of the narrative.
"Since Kennedy's novel So I am Glad is a metafictional work, disclosing to its reader the keys of its own artificial construction, its own textuality, it allows us, through a postmodernist reading of the text, to understand how the writer-text-reader relationship works."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Kennedy, Alison L. So I Am Glad. London: Vintage, 1995.
  • Barthes, Roland. 'The Death of the Author.' The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed. Vincent B. Leitch, et al. New York and London: W.W. Norton, 2001. 1466-1470.
  • Bell, Eleanor. 'Scotland and Ethics in the work of A.L. Kennedy.' Scotlands. 5.1 (1998).
  • Dunnigan, Sarah M. 'A. L. Kennedy's Longer Fiction: Articulate Grace.' Contemporary Scottish Women Writers. Eds. Aileen Christianson and Alison Lumsden. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000.
  • Gifford, Douglas. 'Contemporary Fiction II: Seven Writers in Scotland.' A History of Scottish Women's Writing. Eds. Douglas Gifford and Dorothy McMillan. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1997. 604-29.

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