Document Type

Journal Article


To understand the dynamics of literary festivals is to engage with the social and cultural co-ordinates of a particular manifestation of what Bourdicu calls the literary field, and to observe its production of authors and readers as well as texts. The reflections on festival culture assembled in this essay take their cue, not so much from Bourdieu's ambitious project of cultural mapping as from his insistence that the analysis of ' the social conditions of the production and reception of a work of art, far from reducing it or destroying it, in fact intensifies the literary experience' (The Rules of Art xix). The nature and intensity of the literary experience in the festival setting, which are the main concerns of this essay, displace and modify but do not destroy the pleasure of the text, which proves remarkably resilient whether enhanced by other pleasures or subjected to critical scrutiny.