Vested Reading: Writing the Self through Ethan Frome
This essay builds on the work of Wolfgang Iser, Janice Radway,
E. H. Gombrich, and other theorists of reading to argue for a new
approach to the reading encounter, which I call vested reading.
Vested reading is a means of engaging with the literary text in a
way that reads the self into the book one holds in one’s hands
while also attending to issues of literary form. I turn to Edith
Wharton’s novella Ethan Frome and its popular reception in order
to flesh out my understanding of vested reading as a practice that
realigns life-worlds, while reconstructing the world of the text in
ways relevant to readers’ lives.