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At a time when theory seems to dominate academic thought, how can close reading justify itself as a cogent and sophisticated interpretive strategy? In Reading in an Age of Theory, twelve distinguished scholars discuss the relationship of theory to reading, an important topic for both teachers and students of literature. Focusing on the work of Richard Poirier, one of the most influential proponents of close reading in this country, they explore both the theoretical dimensions of the subject and practical applications to works by Frost, James, Shakespeare, and others.