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  • Established and Alternative Literary Criticism: A Study of Marguerite Duras’s Works Reviewed in Sweden

    Mattias Aronsson

    Chapter from the book: Jonsson, H et al. 2021. Narratives Crossing Borders: The Dynamics of Cultural Interaction.

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    The article examines recent reviews of Marguerite Duras’s works in Sweden. A corpus of reviews published in the Swedish press has been collected (here called “established criticism”), and this material is compared to and contrasted with reviews published on the Internet, on personal blogs and homepages (in the study labelled as “non-established criticism”).

    The non-established literary criticism published on the Internet represents a somewhat new phenomenon, insomuch as it constitutes a parallel to the traditional reviews published in the “old” press – such as printed daily newspapers, literary magazines, etc. It also presents the interpretations and opinions of “ordinary” readers, and by that I refer to people who do not occupy a position of power in the field of cultural production. This category of readers did not have access to the literary debate before the democratization of information and communication technology, i.e., personal computers with high-performance Internet connection, smartphones, IPads, etc. In that respect, reviews written and published by non- established critics represent a new facet of literary criticism.

    Recent studies show the importance of opinions expressed by bloggers in the modern economy, where the “e-commerce” phenomenon has been soaring for quite some years. Hence, all publishing houses today must keep an eye not only on what the established critics in the old media have to say about the products, but they must also be increasingly aware of the opinions expressed by amateur critics in the blogosphere. The narratives studied in this article have crossed several borders. First, Marguerite Duras’s works have been translated from French to Swedish, which means that the texts have been transformed to fit a new linguistic and cultural context. Secondly, the examined corpus does not only come from established critics, but it also contains reviews that originate from the less explored territory of the blogosphere.

    The study is inspired by concepts such as convergence culture and participatory culture, popularized by media researcher Henry Jenkins, among other scholars. In a culture where old and new media tend to converge, the consumer of literature (and other products) has the opportunity to be an active participant in the construction of meaning and value – for instance by publishing literary reviews on the Internet. Thus, the notion of prosumer (neologism created by merging “producer” with “consumer”) is used with reference to this somewhat new actor in the world of commerce – and, indeed, in the world of reader-response research.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Aronsson, M. 2021. Established and Alternative Literary Criticism: A Study of Marguerite Duras’s Works Reviewed in Sweden. In: Jonsson, H et al (eds.), Narratives Crossing Borders. Stockholm: Stockholm University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16993/bbj.n

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Published on June 15, 2021


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