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Contemporary Fictions of Attention


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements 1. Fictions of Attention 2. "Focus, people!" (David Foster Wallace) 3. Present-Mindedness (Joshua Cohen) 4. The Distraction of Both (Ali Smith) 5. Amputated Attention (Tom McCarthy) 6. Beginning to Mind (Zadie Smith) 7. Reading Absorption (Ben Lerner) Notes Works Cited Index

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A literary study of attention in twenty-first-century British and American fiction.

About the Author

Alice Bennett is senior lecturer in English Literature at Liverpool Hope University, UK. She has published on contemporary fiction in Critique, the Oxford Literary Review, and Textual Practice and is the author of Afterlife and Narrative in Contemporary Fiction (2012).


[A] fresh, compelling account of the forms of attention reading can foster ... [a] thoughtful study. * Times Literary Supplement *
In her careful readings of works (nonfiction as well as fiction) by David Foster Wallace, Joshua Cohen, Ali Smith, Tom McCarthy, Zadie Smith, and Ben Lerner, Bennett identifies the stylistic techniques and broad array of topics that these authors have employed to highlight attention itself as a major subject in contemporary letters. Ideally, readers will leave this book with a renewed interest in these authors, as well as a respect for the importance of paying attention to attention in reading practices. Summing Up: Highly recommended. * CHOICE *

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