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Simpson Center for the Humanities

Reading and Responsibility

Derek Attridge

“At its most valuable, literature challenges us to reconfigure the frameworks by which we understand the world…” — Derek Attridge in an interview with Mark Thwaite for, 2004

Derek Attridge is Leverhulme Research Professor and Chair of English at the University of York. A scholar of remarkable range and sensitivity, Attridge is known as a leading interpreter of James Joyce, J.M.Coetzee, and Jacques Derrida as well as a brilliant theorist of poetic form and literary language. He is the author of nine books, including How to Read Joyce (2007), Poetic Rhythm: An Introduction (1995), and The Singularity of Literature (2004), winner of the 2006 European Society for the Study of English Book Award.

Through his work, Attridge attends to reading and writing as creative acts and ethical engagements that make a difference in the world, and to the specific force of the literary to effect strange and potent communication across time and space. Attridge addresses in his work the question of what we might learn—of receptivity, of otherness, of responsibility—by way of reading.