Teaching literature and listening to the reader

Prof. Dr. Patrícia Trindade Nakagome, Brazil, ID CLEaR2017-415;     Abstract: In interviews with undergraduate students of Language and Literature in a prestigious Brazilian university, many of them mentioned Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling as their most relevant reading. Many of these students affirmed that this series was the main cause for their interest in Literature and motivated the choice of their career. Despite of their importance, best-sellers, such as Harry Potter, are not considered a valuable object of criticism or teaching, at least in Brazilian context. Many critics put its aesthetic quality into question and often assume that it may be harmful to new readers, as it would discourage the reading of more complex narratives. In this paper, the importance of developing research about the empirical reader will be sustained, especially children and young people, as we understand that their reading experience would be an essential complement to the more traditional reader-response studies and to the debate of teaching literature.

Key words: teaching literature; reading; empirical reader; reader-response studies; best-seller.