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Should you read a literary text again and again? Importance of re-reading

Reading a literary text is always useful for the people who belong to academic fields – students, teachers, professors and scholars. It gives them a clear idea of the scenario and an acute understanding of the theme. It enables them to critically comment, analyse and discuss a work of literature with full conviction. However, have you ever thought re-reading a literary text? Have you ever wondered what re-reading a text could bring in terms of benefits? Should it be done or not? Should a critical reader re-read literary texts? I am strictly keeping students out of this because of a high risk of over-thinking involved. So, should scholars, critics and professors re-read literary texts? For the sake of killing the curiosities – they re-read the literary text several times and that’s why we have volumes of works on literary works by various authors and poets and playwrights.


should you read a text again and again


The Need to Re-read a Literary Text:
The first reading is for the basic knowledge of a work of literature. To understand the plot, to think about the theme and to understand the vision of the writer – these are the basic purposes that can be associated with the first read. Most of the times, it works quite well unless the literary piece is by the authors like Kafka or Chekhov. Works by some of the authors like these two need extra efforts from the readers. Once the basic reading is complete and the basic purposes met, a critic or a reader who doesn’t have to fulfil strict academic requirements can read the text for a second time to see:

  • whether there is a certain pattern that it follows

  • whether the piece of literature resembles any other work published before

  • whether the literary work displays a certain emphasis on something

  • can the literary text be read with a certain literary theory in mind

  • what qualities do the characters exhibit

  • what kind of vocabulary does the work offer

  • what is the base of the literary work – realism, imagination, or a mix of both

    and so many other aspects can be sought once a reader begins re-reading a text

The Advantages of Re-reading a Literary Text:
Now that you know what are the applications of re-reading a text, you can calculate the advantages yourself. It enables a reader to get into the advances of reading that looks beyond the reading pleasure or academic requirements. If you are interested in literature more than what a person with average literary interest does, you will begin relishing this habit once you have done re-reading of 5 books. It opens new dimensions in front of a reader – to look beyond the interpretation.

What books should you re-read in the beginning?
Re-reading is not limited to English literature only. You can re-read the books published in any language. It should always be a matter of your taste and interest. However, for those who have been the students of English literature, there are certain books that you must have read by now. Let’s begin re-reading them:

  1. Jane Eyre

  2. Jude the Obscure

  3. Hard Times

  4. Vanity Fair

You can let me know your interesting findings after you are done re-reading these literary texts. All the best with this new venture!

Alok Mishra

First and foremost a poet, Alok Mishra is an author next. Apart from these credentials, he is founder & Editor-in-Chief of Ashvamegh, an international literary magazine and also the founder of BookBoys PR, a company which helps writers brand themselves and promote their books. On this blog, Alok mostly writes about literary topics which are helpful for literature students and their teachers. He also shares his poems; personal thoughts and book reviews.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. I am a regular reader of your blog. This article is compact, well-organised and very informative. It has shown a way about how to read a literary text and why re-reading is beneficial and necessary as well.

  2. A literary text is pretty complex in nature you cannot imagine of understanding all the things in one reading that is fairly impossible and injustice to a literary writer. Moreover, re-reading literary takes come up with many advantages as discussed in the article in a detailed manner.

  3. I agree. Re-reading is only for those who have to find something more than academic requirements and reading pleasure. Critical thinking can only be associated with a text once you read it twice or thrice and find out something that is more than interpretation. Thanks for the article!

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