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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 7/28/2016
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

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Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.

Questionnaires are everywhere: we fill them out at doctors' offices and at job interviews, to express ourselves and to advance knowledge, to find love and to kill time. But where did they come from, and why have they proliferated? Evan Kindley's Questionnaire investigates the history of “the form as form,” from the Victorian confession album to the BuzzFeed quiz. By asking questions about the questions we ask ourselves, Kindley uncovers surprising connections between literature and science, psychology and business, and journalism and surveillance.

Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.

Author Biography

Evan Kindley is Founding Editor and Editor at Large at the Los Angeles Review of Books and Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Claremont McKenna College, USA. His selected journalistic publications include essays and reviews in n+1, the London Review of Books, Dissent, Bookforum, The New Republic, and the Los Angeles Times. His academic publications articles in Critical Inquiry, ELH, and PMLA, as well as a chapter in the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to Modern American Poetry.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Form as Form

Chapter 1: Survey Says
Why fill out a questionnaire? To improve the human race.

Chapter 2: Private Publicity
Why fill out a questionnaire? To express oneself.

Chapter 3: Institutions and Cults
Why fill out a questionnaire? To join, or belong.

Chapter 4: Love and Marriage
Why fill out a questionnaire? To find love, or become more lovable.

Chapter 5: Quiz Mania
Why fill out a questionnaire? To kill time.

Coda: The Future of Blank Space


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