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Rooney argues that symptomatic reading distinguishes itself from the broader traditions of philosophical critique and ideology critique through its emphases on the productivity of reading, the shifting problematics every reader confronts in the form of the other reader, and the “surprise” that emerges from the work of form and renders the reader herself a symptom. In a close reading of Louis Althusser’s Reading Capital, she focuses on Althusser’s figure, “the play on words itself,” to disclose the way in which the act of reading both discloses and is taken by surprise by the work of form.

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