In Site Reading: Fiction, Art, Social Form, David J. Alworth seeks to revive the field of literary sociology in a new key and for a new era. By treating postwar US novels as sites rather than as aesthetic objects, he frames their representations of place and setting as networks of social engagement and interaction. His guides in this endeavor are sociologists and cultural historians, Erving Goffman and Bruno Latour most prominently, who have stressed the relationality between individuals and social spaces and who often draw on literary examples for their conclusions. This merging of sociology and literary study motivates Alworth's “site reading” interpretive method, which blends ecocriticism and textual materialism. The result is as ingenious a study of postwar fiction as a set of archaeological digs into modern spaces and locales.

Alworth develops his theory by studying a number of novelists...

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