The Gist of Reading


ACLS Fellowship Program




The historical study of readers has long faced a stumbling block: the difficulty of describing just what readers do while reading. This project will provide scholars for the first time with models and vocabulary for describing the reading strategies and mental processes of nineteenth-century readers. These arguments arise from years of course work, empirical collaboration, and research presentations with scientists and educators who study reading, as well as extensive archival research and database-building using sources that have only recently become accessible. Combining archival work, literary criticism, and scientific findings, this project will provide a new history of reading practices and unfamiliar ways of understanding familiar evidence.