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The act of reading, a seemingly retiring activity, turns out to be a matter of power. Through an analysis of some theoretical reflections, we will try to account for a certain undisciplined and even savage power inherent in the act of reading. What made the reader a political subject? What were the forms of control and what the forms of indiscipline? In this article, we will attempt at sketching out at least some answers to these questions. We will consider reflections coming from different disciplinary fields relating to the history and sociology of reading, theories of literature and psychoanalysis. We will also try to show how the main event of recent decades, that is the «perversion» of reading, can be interpreted as the decoupling of this practice from the essential link with the alphabet.