Emotional Landscapes of Reading

Posted: 14 Apr 2015 Last revised: 28 Apr 2015

See all articles by Natalia Samutina

Natalia Samutina

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Date Written: April 14, 2015


This paper focuses on fan fiction as a literary experience and especially on fan fiction readers’ receptive strategies. Methodologically, its approach is at the intersection of literary theory, theory of popular culture, and qualitative research into practices of communication within online communities. It presents a general characterization of fan fiction as a type of contemporary reading and writing, drawing upon the influential works by H. Jenkins, A. Dericho, K. Tosenberger, and others. Taking as an example the Russian Harry Potter fan fiction community, the paper poses a set of questions about meanings and contexts of immersive reading and affective reading, highly present among the reading strategies of this fan fiction community. The emotional reading of fan fiction communities is put into historical and theoretical context, with references to the works by researchers who analyzed and criticized the dichotomy of rational and affective reading, or "enchantment", in literary culture as one of the symptoms of modernity (M. Millner, M. Saler, R. Felski). The metaphor of "emotional landscapes of reading" is used in the paper for theorization of the reading strategies of fan fiction readers, and discussed through parallels with phenomenological theories of landscape. Among the "assemblage points of reading" of fan fiction, such specific elements are described as "selective reading", "kink reading", "first encounter with fan fiction texts" and "unpredictability".

Keywords: reception studies, reading, emotions and affect, fan fiction, Russian online communities, Harry Potter

JEL Classification: Z00

Suggested Citation

Samutina, Natalia, Emotional Landscapes of Reading (April 14, 2015). Higher School of Economics Research Paper No. WP BRP 99/HUM/2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2594288 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2594288

Natalia Samutina (Contact Author)

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017

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