Common Readers and the Singularity of Literature: A View on Derek Attridge’s Analysis of the Process of Reading

Main Article Content

Satyam Kumar


Reading is a complex process. It mostly aims at getting at the most accurate meaning of a text, but it is not always easy. Because what is the accurate meaning is something very tough to decide. A text has various qualities which nearly all need to be analysed to come closer to a complete meaning. It needs expertise and attention while reading any text. On the other hand, the process of reading itself has various aspects to look at. For example, a reader always has more than one perspective available to analyse and interpret a text. And it is necessary that a text is read and analysed using these different perspectives, so that the meaning one gets after such a reading is not narrow or obscure. Specially the reading of a literary text needs some extra attention. Here, the language is mostly minutely used, and there are qualities which are different and mostly superior to other common texts. At the same time, sometimes, the kind of meaning which is produced also depends on the reader. A common reader without expertise may come up with some simple meaning. But, at the same time, a scholarly reader may come up with some complex meaning of the same text. Thus, there is always a possibility that the same text may have different meanings by different authors. The present paper focuses on the common readers’ reading of the texts and the different kinds and stages of reading as put forth by Derek Attridge in his works The Work of Literature and The Singularity of Literature, respectively. Common readers read the texts differently from the way the scholarly readers read them. Then, how far is it possible and necessary to take all readers as just readers and make some general comments on the reading process as a whole? It is a fact that based on the cultural and educational backgrounds, different people respond to the same text differently, and their respective responses should be respected as they all are readers, after all, who have the freedom to comment and interpret. The present paper tries to analyse this inclusivity in Attridge’s arguments as far as the process of reading is concerned.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...

Article Details

How to Cite
Satyam Kumar. “Common Readers and the Singularity of Literature: A View on Derek Attridge’s Analysis of the Process of Reading”. The Creative Launcher, vol. 8, no. 5, Oct. 2023, pp. 56-65, doi:10.53032/tcl.2023.8.5.06.
Research Articles


Attridge, Derek. The Work of Literature. Oxford University Press, 2015. DOI:

Attridge, Derek. The Singularity of Literature. Routledge, Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2004. DOI:

Clark, Timothy. “Singularity in Criticism.” The Cambridge Quarterly, vol. 33, no. 4, 2004, pp. 395–98. JSTOR, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022. DOI:

Eagleton, Terry. “Introduction: What is Literature?”

Eliot, T. S. “Tradition and the Individual Talent.” Poetry Foundation,

Giusti, Francesco. “Literature at Work: A Conversation with Derek Attridge.” Los Angeles Review of Books, June 11, 2018,

Rennie, Ann. “Poetry offers the best words in the best order…even today.” The Sunday Morning Herald, April 21, 2015,

Roberts, Ben. “Derek Attridge, The Singularity of Literature.” Oxford Literary Review, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 391-394. DOI:

Sartre, Jean-Paul. What is Literature? Translated from French by Bernard Frechtman. Philosophical Library, New York.

Schacht Pereira, Pedro. Modern Philology, vol. 104, no. 4, 2007, pp. 560–63. JSTOR, Accessed 1 June 2023. DOI:

Vidmar, Iris. “Derek Attridge, The Work of Literature.” Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics, vol. LIV/X, no. 1, 2017, pp. 138-45. DOI:

Warren, Austin and Wellek Rene. “Theory of Literature.”

Wordsworth, William. “William Wordsworth.” Poetry Foundation,

Zamir, Tzachi. The Singularity of Literature by Attridge, Derek, The Journal of Aesthetic and Art Criticism, vol. 65, no. 4, Oct. 2007, pp. 419-421, DOI:

Ziarek, Krzysztof. “Review of Derek Attridge, The Singularity of Literature.” Bryn Mawr Review of Comparative Literature, vol. 5, no. 2, 2018.