Reading Trance

Our search for an analogue of reading trance now leads us to consider an especially promising avenue -- hypnotic trance... Trance theory argues that in the hypnotic state, reality orientation disappears and the subject's behavior changes. The leading exponent of this view is Shor (1970), who maintains that "the reader's fantasy world is an encapsulated unit and it seems totally real.... The reader is completely oblivious at the conscious level to the true reality about him" (p 92-93). Since the reader's fantasy world owes much of its appeal to the reader's continued awareness of its unreality, we must take issue with Shor. A better fit with the nature of the reader's world is offered by psyhcoanalytic ego therory, notably in Rapaport's formulation (1967), which holds that hypnotic induction fragments the ego, which then restructures itself at a partially regressed level, with a regnant ego remaining as an observer and in this way maintaining the individual's reality orientation.

Nell, p. 210

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