An unresolved conflict that makes the reader want to keep reading. In two of its 2010 newsletters, the Association of Departments of English (ADE) published a series of articles that attempted to take stock of what the 21st century had in store to read carefully. The papers, as all the researchers noted, were motivated by changes they had observed in the work of their peers and students – as well as in contemporary culture – that caused them to rethink why accurate reading was important for the study of literature. Jonathan Culler noted that because the discipline had taken careful reading for granted, it had disappeared from discussions about the goals of literary criticism.  For Culler, as for Jane Gallop, this absence had to be filled and thus signalled an opportunity for English faculties to renew one of the most distinctive features of literary study – in order to take advantage of it.  If New Criticism and its isolationist stance had given way to the politicization of literary studies, and if technological developments had changed the way people read, Culler and Gallop emphasized that the signature of careful reading, meticulous attention to the workings of language and form, still had value. N. Katherine Hayles and John Guillory, who were both interested in the impact of digital media on how people read, argued that close-up reading skills were not only translatable in the digital context, but could also coexist productively with the hyper-reading that web interfaces and links had generated.   In the practice of literary studies, the technique of careful reading emerged in Britain in the 1920s in the works of I.
A. Richards, his pupil William Empson, and the poet T.S. Eliot, all of whom sought to replace an « impressionist » view of literature then prevalent with what Richards called a « practical critique » focused on language and form. American New Critics of the 1930s and 1940s also anchored their views, promoting accurate reading as a way to understand that the autonomy of the work (often a poem) was more important than anything else, including the author`s intent, cultural contexts of reception, and ideology in general.  For these critics, including Cleanth Brooks, William K. Wimsatt, John Crowe Ransom and Allen Tate, who have done only careful reading, have been able to appeal to the work in its complex unity because of their attention to the nuances and interrelations of language and form.  Its influence on American literary criticism and English faculties lasted for several decades, and even after New Criticism lost its importance in American universities in the final years of the Cold War, accurate reading remained a basic skill, almost naturalized among literary critics.    At the turn of the 21st century, efforts to historicize the aesthetics of the New Critics and its apolitical pretext led scholars, particularly in English fields, to debate the fate of careful reading and to question its status as critical practice.
Misty of Chincoteague, Marguerite Henry`s popular story about the gentle foal of a wild horse – and winner of a Newbery Honor – is now available in the Apex literature reading course. In an even more extreme example, in Ulysses Gramophone, Jacques Derrida devotes eighty-six pages to the word « yes » in James Joyce`s novel Ulysses, an effort that J. Hillis Miller describes as a « hyperbolic, extravagant, even scandalous explosion » of the technique of careful reading.  While New Criticism popularized attentive reading in universities, it tended to emphasize its principles and offer expanded examples rather than prescribing specific methods and practices. This tendency to what Vincent B. Leitch calls « canonical statements », appeared in essays and studies, from John Crowe Ransom`s « The New Criticism » (1941) and Allen Tate`s « A Note on Autotelism » (1949) to Cleanth Brooks` The Well Wrought Urn (1947), René Wellek and Austin Warren`s Theory of Literature (1949), and W.K. Wimsatt`s The Verbal Icon (1954).  The first ten chapters of The Well Wrought Urn therefore focus individually on poems from British literary history (John Donne, William Shakespeare, John Milton, Alexander Pope, Thomas Gray, John Keats, William Wordsworth, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, W.B.