Allen Riddell

Readers and their Roles: Evidence from Readers of Contemporary Fiction in the Netherlands

Date: March 28, 2018

Time: 4:00pm – 5:00pm

Room: Luddy Hall Auditorium


Reading serves many ends. Some readers report that works of fiction provide an imaginative escape from the rigors of life, others report reading in order to be intellectually challenged. While various characterizations of readers’ engagement with prose fiction have been proposed, few have been checked using representative samples of readers. This research reports on reader self-descriptions observed in a representative sample of 501 adults in the Netherlands. Contrary to existing theories which posit two types of readers characterized by non-overlapping concerns (labeled “identifying readers” and “distanced readers”), they find that reader self-descriptions overlap more than received theories would predict.



Allen Riddell is an Assistant Professor in the School of Informatics, Computing, & Engineering. His research explores applications of modern statistical methods in the humanities and allied social sciences. His research interests include sociology of literature, publishing history, comparative media studies, library digitization, and text mining. Prior to coming to Indiana University, Riddell was a Neukom Fellow at the Neukom Institute for Computational Sciences and the Leslie Center for the Humanities at Dartmouth College.