How to measure the social prestige of a Nobel Prize in Literature? Development of a scale assessing the literary value of a text
Massimo Salgaro, Pasqualina Sorrentino, Gerhard Lauer, Jana Lüdtke, Arthur M. Jacobs, "How to measure the social prestige of a Nobel Prize in Literature? Development of a scale assessing the literary value of a text", in TXT, N°5, The Book Issue, Academic Press Leiden and Amsterdam University Press, 2018, pp. 138-148
Starting from Walter Benjamin’s definition of aura as an ‘effect of a work of art being uniquely present in time and space’, the objective of this study is to test whether paper books and e-books have different kinds of “aura” and if so, whether the perception of the aura influences the evaluation of the literary texts within a book and an e-book. 59 subjects read four texts from two different genres (short stories and poems) on two different devices (antique book and Kindle). To determine the effect of aura we developed a questionnaire to measure the evaluation of the literary quality by readers. Results show different attributions of literary value depending on the reading device and on the genre of the text. Despite the study’s limitations, these findings support the notion that the context, i.e. the preconceptions of the readers towards a certain medium of reading, plays a determinant role in the attribution of literary value.