Faculty Mentor

Dr. Ian Green

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Who is consumed when we read? Does the reader consume the text or does it consume us? This essay explores the complex and possibly parasitic relationship between reader and text. This unique exchange of knowledge and ideas between reader and texts during this relationship is the phenomenology of reading. During this, the text is transformed via the consciousness of the reader from a passive, inanimate object to an active living breathing immortal entity that transcends both space and time. In doing so, the unhuman text becomes an active consumer of the human reader in the same way the reader believes they are consuming the text. This mutual consumption by the text and the reader has a profound effect. It allows the reader to converse with a text in a wholly unique way that no other person will experience. It also transforms a text from paper and ink into a God-like figure whose ideas can torment and touch the souls of man for centuries after its initial creation. The question that haunts this paper is who is left standing after the interaction between reader and text? Is it the reader with a newfound wealth of knowledge after having engaged with and consumed the text or is it the text who stands before us having found a new host to spread its gospel?