The Anatomy of Excitement: teenagers' conceptualizations of literary quality


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University of Borås, Information Research

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Introduction. This paper suggests a theoretical model for understanding the core criterion of teen-agers’ conceptualisations (i.e. verbalisations) of literary quality, namely spenning/excitement. Method and analysis. The core criterion was identified through quantitative analysis of on-line reviews written by students in secondary school on teen fiction books. In dialogue with a pragmatic and phenomenological framework the complexity of excitement were discovered through close readings. Results. The different understandings of excitement pinned down is joined in a two dimensional model. First, the temporal dimension or the plot dynamics of the text is complementary to the readers need for relevance. Secondly, the relational dimension, in accordance with Georges Poulet, takes two directions, one leading from text to reader (impartation and voyeurism), one from reader to text (identification and sense of place). Both concern persona and setting respectively. Conclusion. The study displays the complexity of reading experiences labelled exciting in a theoretical model of its anatomy. The theoretical framework should be useful for practical as well as further theoretical work on the promotion/mediaton of literature (litteraturformidling/Litteraturvermittlung) in libraries, schools etc.




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