Reading Moods

Reading Moods

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht

Gumbrecht argues for a new way of approaching literary texts, based on what he calls 'atmosphere-oriented reading'. He illustrates the use and effect of tone, atmosphere and mood in texts ranging from courtly love songs to Shakespeare's sonnets, all the way to Thomas Mann's Death in Venice and the lyrics of Janis Joplin. The fact that 'atmosphere' need not always be exclusively harmonious, and that actually the absence of harmony heightens atmosphere all the more, is shown by the example of the surrealists, among others. Gumbrecht's approach opens up a wholly new perspective on the hidden reality of literature. His ideas will appeal to literary critics and readers alike.

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USA/UK (Stanford University Press), Spain (Tres Fronteras), Brazil (Contraponto)

Reading Moods

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