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Introduction: Literary Studies A Definition

Chapter 1 A Dynamic View of Jakobson s Dia!ram

The aims and conventions of literary criticism, as well as those of literature, have constantly changed with time, the result being numerous and varied ways of approaching the literary phenomenon. In the essay, Orientation of Critical Theories, the first chapter of The Mirror and the Lamp , the contemporary critic, M. . !brams, e"plores the diversity of the critical approaches using a simple diagram of the elements involved #$ray, %&&'( )'*( "#IV$%S$ & '(%) & A%*IS* A"DI$#C$ !brams argues that theories of art can be defined according to the way they tend to focus on one of the three variables at the corner of the above imaginary triangle. This way( a mimetic theory will consider the wor+ of art as a mirror of the universe( !ristotle might be considered the first e"ample in this respect, as, in Poetics #)th century ,.C.*, he defined art as imitation or mimesis a pragmatic theory sees art as a means to an end, that of instructing or educating- the attention is, this time, moved on the effect art has on its receiver.consumer expressive theories are centred on the artist, almost the entire criticism of /omanticism and the 0I0th century being firstly preocuppied with art as an e"pression of the feelings, imagination and personality of its creator. Catherine ,elsey, another contemporary theorist pertaining to the ,ritish academic world, calls this critical approach expressive realism, and sees it focused on the interpretation and evaluation of writings, as more or less vigorous e"pressions of a uni1ue sensitivity or world outloo+ #the author2s* and, in the same time, as more or less faithful representations of the surrounding reality what has been called objective criticism #Practical Criticism in $reat ,ritain, Russian Formalism, Ne Criticism in the 3nited 4tates* dominated the study of literature in schools and universities until the 256s. This critical method lays the stress on the analysis of the te"t, of the wor+ itself, free from its author, public or the e"tra7linguistic universebeginning with the 286s, what was traditionally understood by the relations between the universe, the author, the reader and the wor+, has been troubled by !tructuralism and "econstructivism, both 1uestionning even the most elementary mimetism of language and, conse1uently, of literature- even more than that, the structuralists and the deconstructivists attac+ what was ta+en for certain, that there is a stable relationship between words, their meaning and the things outside the te"t that they are a symbol of. 9anguage is no longer only a means that the author uses to tell #his* truth about #his* reality, it even creates that truth about that reality. 9ast but not least, the spoile child of the last decades, the reader, becomes the main concern of the receptiontheories. The focus of the present course being the author and the relationship between him and the other terms of the above7 mentioned e1uation, we thought it fit to change the order of the terms and place the author in the centre, trying to ma+e the Reception. Theory and Practices +

Introduction: Literary Studies A Definition relations more dynamic and bidirectional. :e consider that this might be a useful starting point for the analysis of the central, periferal or no role at all that the different critical and theoretical approaches assigned to the author( uni,erse-e.tra/in!uistic rea/ity-ideo/o!y 0 author-scriptor-meanin! producer 0 work-te.t-discourse 1seen as2 product-producin! 0 reader-consumer-1re2producer of meanin!1s2 /unning the ris+ of being considered too didactic in our approach, we still thought it was worth beginning from the scheme above in an attempt to organi;e, as we have already mentioned, a huge volume of information, offered most of the times in an elitist language, and also to facilitate the access to and the choice of one or another of the theoretical and critical methods meant to help the reader over the threshold that separates the literary te"t from the world #as te"t*. The position we suggest is a relativistic not a pluralistic one as, in our view, the various theories are not all compatible with one another and, by no means, complementary, adding together to form a single comprehensive vision. The reader, as well as the analyst, is rather confronted with a choice between conflicting theories, too great a variety of alternatives and open 1uestions, and will not find a comfortably easy solution to that choice within the confines of literary theory alone. Ta+ing into account what has already been considered an overtheori;ing of literature which seems to undermine reading as an <innocent2 activity, the reader might feel frustrated to lose this innocence. =evertheless, we strongly believe that a true reader cannot ignore the 1uestions the ma>or literary theories have continually as+ed during the last decades( 1uestions about the author, the writing, the reader, or what we usually call reality. !s it happens with both literary criticism and theory, even the focus is on one of the terms, none of the others is completely forgotten. It has been said so often that the modern spirit is an interrogative one, its dignity and courage lying in the 1uestions it raises, not necessarily in the answers it finds. Conse1uently, starting from the scheme above, we shall forward several sets of 1uestions, grouped together according to the terms they point at and the relationship between them. !s in a previous course for 'nd year students, ?The /eception of the 9iterary Te"t@, we focused on the reader, we thought it would be logical that this time we should try to shed some light upon the author, trying to find answers to 1uestions such as( 3uestions for the student: 1) the re/ation between author and te.t: is the te"t the intentional production of an individual, or an only partially intentional production, the unintended determinants of which being one of or a combination of elements such as( i. the psyche of the author ii. the psyche of the culture 4 Reception. Theory and Practices

Introduction: Literary Studies A Definition iii. the ideology of the culture iv. the particular socio7economic conditions of the production #the placement and role of the artist in the culture, who pays for the production, who consumes it, what are the rewards for successful production, how are they decided and, what are the material conditions of production v. the traditions of writing which pertain to the te"t vi. the traditions of the treatment of the particular sub>ect7matter in the culture and in the genre is the te"t in fact almost entirely the production of the ideological and cultural realm, in which realm the author is merely a function, whose role, aspirations, ideas and attitudes are created by the society in which he livesA In this case, the te"t is a comple" structure of cultural and aesthetic codes, none of which the author has created, arranged around traditional cultural themes or topoi, whereas the author himself, while an e"istent being #his e"istence and effort are not denied*, has little to do with the Bmeaning2 of the te"t, as he himself is simply part of #or, constructed by* the circulation of meanings within the culture. On the other hand, if we ta+e into consideration the e"pressive function of the literary discourse, we can as+ a couple of 1uestions li+e( how do writers introduce themselves to their readers( as an impersonal instance in the wor+, or a personal one manifesting itself through the wor+A to what e"tent and in what way do writers open or shut to the reader the access to the individuality of the person who produces the te"t and remains outside it or steps insideA :hat mas+s do they ta+e on and whyA 52 the re/ationship between the author and the te.t6 on the one hand6 and the society6 on the other: as the author is operating within a certain cultural milieu, in what ways does she represent in her te"t, deliberately and.or unconsciously, the understandings of the world that the culture holdsA in what ways does she represent in her te"t, again deliberately and.or unconsciously, the understandings of what art is and does, the aesthetic ideolog#ies* of the timeA Moreover, the te"t not only will be an outcome of this situated imaginative process, but will be structured in its production and in its reception by various material social forces- conse1uently, one must as+ 1uestions such as these( who is the intended audienceA who has a say in the te"tCs final form, directly #e.g. editors*, or indirectly how is it paid for, and how it is distributed, who has access to it, under what conditions, and what effects might these conditions produceA what status does that +ind of writing have in the cultureA

Reception. Theory and Practices

Chapter 1 8 A Dynamic View of Jakobson s Dia!ram 92 the re/ation between author and reader #the communicational mechanisms*( what are the status and the role of the authorial voiceA how are the different hypostasis of the author.narrator transposed into the te"tA to what e"tent does the author intend and succeed to establish a dialogic relation between him and a reader open to such a relationA what is the freedom the reader is left to decode and interpret the te"tA These are only some of the possible 1uestions raised by the issue of the relationship between what we called the terms of a simple e1uation, which proves anything but simple. ! more detailed presentation of the '6 th century critical theories will start from a set of possible 1uestions that can be as+ed of any theory of literature( ow does it define the literary 1ualities of the literary te"tA :hat relation does it propose between te"t and authorA :hat role does it ascribe to the readerA ow does it view the relationship between te"t and realityA :hat status does it give to language, the medium of the te"tA a: *e.t as /iterature The word Bliterature2 is #although it should not be* used as if it were precisely and unproblematically definable, but the definitions vary widely in their scope and premises. The so7called Binstitutional2 definition, which may be characterised as historicist, sees it as essentially similar to any other sort of social or cultural institution, therefore changing its character and function as the society that produces it changes. Instead, most literary theories attempt to devise universal definitions such as poetry, verbal art, etc. 4uch definitions also vary in a number of ways, out of which the degree of the specificity of literature. The /ussian Dormalists defined literature2s distinctive 1ualities in relation to ordinary language, whereas certain Bvulgar2 Mar"ists regarded it as >ust one element of the superstructure, viewing it in relation to ideology. Common to all is that literature is generally regarded as a more patterned and organised +ind of message than those of ordinary communication. ,ut again, the function attributed to the formal elements will vary from one theory to another. The =ew Critics, for e"ample, offer a more comple" model and shift the burden of representation #the mimetic function of literature* onto form itself, defining content not only as what is said but as the way in which things are said. Other theories disregard literature2s representational function, and privilege formal features, ma+ing content as incidental as form is for content7biased theories. b: *e.t and author 3uestions for the student: is the te"t the intentional production of an individual, or is the te"t an only partially intentional production whose unintended determinants are one of or a combination of( Reception. Theory and Practices 11

Chapter 1 8 A Dynamic View of Jakobson s Dia!ram the psyche of the author, the psyche of the culture, the ideology of the culture, the particular socio7economic conditions of the production #the placement and role of the artist in the culture, who pays for the production, who consumes it, what are the rewards of successful production, how are they decided and, what are the material conditions of production*, 7 the traditions of writing which pertain to the te"t, 7 the traditions of the treatment of the particular sub>ect7matter in the culture and in the genre, or is the te"t in fact almost entirely the production of the ideological and cultural realm, in which realm the author is merely a function, whose role, aspirations, ideas and attitudes are created by the society in which he lives. In this case, the te"t is a comple" structure of cultural and aesthetic codes, none of which the author has created, arranged around traditional cultural themes or topoi, whereas the author himself, while an e"istent being #his e"istence and effort are not denied*, has little to do with the Bmeaning2 of the te"t, as he himself is simply part of #or, constructed by* the circulation of meanings within the culture. ,iography has traditionally played a large role in literary studies, but ever since the !merican =ew Critics raised the issue of the Bintentional fallacy2, it has been thought that biography may actually constitute an obstacle to the study of literary te"ts. The !merican =ew Critics :. E. :imsatt and M. C. ,eardsley introduced this term for what they regarded as the mista+en critical method of >udging a literary wor+ according to the author2s intentions, whether stated or implied. They argued that the value and meaning of each literary wor+ resides solely in the te"t itself, and any e"amination of presumed intention is merely irrelevant, distracting the critic towards the writer2s psychology or biography, rather than focusing on the use of language, imagery, tensions, and so on, within the freestanding literary artifice. #The Ferbal Icon, %&G)* The importance given to the author tends to be in inverse proportion to the one given to specifically literary 1ualities. ,oth the =ew Critics and the /ussian Dormalists felt it necessary to downgrade the author, in order to guarantee the independence of literary studies, saving them from being merely a second7rate form of psychology or history. On the other hand, those theories for which the author is a central point of reference vary considerably on the 1uestion of how far the authorial intentions assumed to govern a te"t are conscious #Mar"ists vs. classical Dreudians*. c: *e.t and reader 3uestions for the student: does the te"t create the reader or does the reader create the te"tA Is the te"t a te"t without a reader, or is it only a te"t as read #i.e. it becomes a te"t only the moment it is actuali;ed by a reader while reading*A to what e"tent are we, as readers, simply following the conventions of reading we have been taughtA- to what e"tent are we reading our own world7view and our own concerns into the te"tA Most of the considerations above pertaining to the placement of the author, pertain to the reader as well( 15 Reception. Theory and Practices

Chapter 1 8 A Dynamic View of Jakobson s Dia!ram to what e"tent do the purposes of the reading, the social placement of the reader, and the cultural status of the te"t influence what Bmeaning2 the reader derives #or produces*A 3ntil recently the reader was probably the most neglected element in the framewor+ of literary communication. Many critical theories considered this variable factor in sub>ective responses to literature #vi;. the =ew Criticism2s Baffective fallacy2* at odds with the systematic re1uirements of any rigorous theory. B!ffective fallacy2 is the title of an essay by the !merican critics :. E. :imsatt and M. C. ,eardsley, printed in :imsatt2s The Ferbal Icon #%&G)*. They argue that >udging a poem by its effects or emotional impact on the reader is a fallacious method of criticism, resulting only in impressionistic criticism. =ot only the =ew Critics felt that way, but also the /ussian Dormalists #with whom, one will have reali;ed so far, they seem to agree to a great e"tent on a number of issues*, who specifically e"cluded sub>ective response from their theory because they regarded it as unscientific- therefore, the reader is left passively to observe features of a te"t the character of which can be established only by Bob>ective2 scientific analysis. ! somewhat naHvely psychological view of the reader is that of I. !. /ichards, who ma+es an attempt at combining an interest in reader response with scientific aims. Through his Bpractical criticism2, he encouraged attentive close reading of te"ts, a +ind of democratisation of literary study in the classroom, in which nearly everyone was placed on an e1ual footing in the face of a Bblind te"t2 #unidentified*. ! more comple" approach is that of the Constance 4chool of phenomenologically7inspired reader theory, where the reader is recogni;ed to have a determined function, assigned to him by culture and history, and also that his own cultural and historical situation becomes a +ey factor that affects, as /. ,arthes showed in his 4.I, the way in which te"ts are written. In his opinion, the reader does not passively receive the impact that the literary te"t may ma+e upon him.her, but is involved in a more active, or rather, interactive process. !lmost all schools of literary theory place a growing emphasis on reading, even privileging readers and reading for broadly political aims #vi;. a Mar"ist or a feminist reading, highlighting the difference of its interpretation from others, to draw attention to and undermine bourgeois or patriarchal assumptions*. !s a preliminary conclusion, theories of reading as+ 1uestions about the e"tent to which a te"t can be said to determine its own meaning or be determined by it, about the reader responding to te"tual directives or producing, through his interpretative activity, the te"t himself. d: *e.t and society 3uestions for the student: as the author is operating within a certain cultural milieu, in what ways does he represent in his te"t, deliberately and.or unconsciously, the understandings of the world that the culture holdsA in what ways does he represent in his te"t, again deliberately and.or unconsciously, the understandings of what art is and does, the aesthetic ideologi#es* of the timeA Reception. Theory and Practices 19

Chapter 1 8 A Dynamic View of Jakobson s Dia!ram Moreover, the te"t not only will be an outcome of this situated imaginative process, but will be structured in its production and in its reception by various material social forces- conse1uently one must as+ 1uestions such as these( who is the intended audienceA who has a say in the te"t2s final form, directly #e.g. editors*, or indirectly how is it paid for, and how is it distributed, who has access to it, under what conditions, and what effects might these conditions produceA what status does that +ind of writing have in the cultureA e: *e.t and rea/ity ,y Breality2 one is to understand, of course, the concrete world of material ob>ects, but also philosophical, psychological and social realities, the e"istence of which is independent from literature. The theorist2s tas+ is to formulate the relationship between the te"t and this reality. Mar"ist theories assume that, one way or the other, literature is bound to social and political reality- psychoanalytic theories assume that it primarily represents a psychological reality. In addition, /ussian Dormalism, forwarding the concept of Bdefamiliari;ation2, #Bostranenie2, ma+ing strange*, sees reality made Bstrange2 by the literary te"t. !ccording to formalist theories, particularly to Fictor 4h+lovs+y, one of the early /ussian Dormalists, literary te"ts are distinguished from non7literary te"ts by a variety of special linguistic devices and features, most of them deviations from ordinary usage, which result in defamiliari;ation, which they define as the capacity of some +inds of writing to strip away familiarity from the world about us so that we see things anew, or, to put it differently, it was meant to change our mode of perception from the automatic and practical to the artistic. f: *e.t and /an!ua!e The main feature that distinguishes literature from the other arts is its linguistic medium, but theories of literature vary greatly in the importance they ascribe to language. Many of them, concerned with establishing the distinctiveness of literature as an independent category, define literature as a special use of language( for the /ussian Dormalists it is a deviation from ordinary language, for the =ew Critics it is a shift from a logical and conventional to an imitative, Biconic2 use of it, whereas the 4tructuralists ta+e linguistic theory, 4aussurean linguistics in particular, as their starting point for literary theory. 3uestions for the student: is language composed of signs which have their meaning only in reference to, and through difference from other signs, as in the popular 4aussurean modelA is language an actual indicator of the Breal world2A 4tructuralists attac+ the idea that language is an instrument for reflecting a pre7e"istent reality or for e"pressing a human intention. They believe that Bsub>ects2 are produced by linguistic structures which are Balways already2 in place. ! sub>ect2s utterances belong to the realm of Bparole2, which is governed by Blangue2, the true ob>ect of structuralist analysis. This systematic view of communication e"cludes all sub>ective processes by which individuals interact with others and with society. The poststructuralist critics of structuralism introduce the concept of the Bspea+ing sub>ect2 or the Bsub>ect in 1; Reception. Theory and Practices

Chapter 1 8 A Dynamic View of Jakobson s Dia!ram process2. Instead of viewing language as an impersonal system, they regard it as always articulated with other systems and especially with sub>ective processes. They insisted that all instances of language had to be considered in a social conte"t. Jvery utterance is potentially the site of a struggle( every word that is launched into social space implies a dialogue and therefore a contested interpretation. 9anguage cannot be neatly dissociated from social living- it is always contaminated, interleaved, coloured by layers of semantic deposits resulting from the endless process of human struggle and interaction. This conception of language7in7use is summed up in the term Bdiscourse2. Ko we spea+ language, that is, is language sub>ect to our will and intention, or does language spea+ us, that is, are we implicated in a web of meaning located in and maintained by languageA To sum up, modern literary theory is anything but monolithic- rather it consists of a multiplicity of competing theories #mainly due to the multiplicity of the sub>ect*, which fre1uently contradict one another, as the previous pages may have already made obvious. Conse1uently, the position we suggest our students is a relativistic not a pluralistic one, since, in our opinion, these different approaches to literature do not simply relate to the different aspects of the sub>ect, thus adding together to form a single comprehensive vision. /ather than that, the reader is faced with a choice between conflicting theories, with a #too* great variety of alternatives and open 1uestions. 3uestions and tasks for the student: 1: Dirst, an emphasis on theory tends to undermine reading as an innocent activity. If we as+ ourselves 1uestions about the construction of meaning in fiction or the presence of ideology in poetry, we can no longer naHvely accept the Brealism2 of a novel or the Bsincerity2 of a poem. 4ome readers may cherish their illusions and mourn the loss of innocence, but, if they are serious readers, they cannot ignore the deeper issues raised by the ma>or literary theorists in recent years. 4econdly, far from having a sterile effect on our reading, new ways of seeing literature can revitali;e our engagement with te"ts. Dar from deadening the spontaneity of the reader2s response to literary wor+s, various theories and concepts raise different 1uestions about literature. They may as+ 1uestions from the particular point of view of the writer, of the wor+, of the reader, or of what we usually call Breality2, although most will, in effect, also involve aspects of the other approaches. <ow does a// this affect our e.perience and understandin! of readin! and writin!= 5: $n/ar!e upon Jakobson s mode/ of /in!uistic communication as app/ied to /iterature: 9: Choose one type of re/ationship 1between author and te.t6 between author>te.t and society6 between author and reader6 between te.t and rea/ity6 etc:2 and write a 9???8word essay 1@ pa!es2 5: %eader8(riented *heories 5:1: %eadin! 1a2 Some Definitions6 1b2 Aain parameters and 1c2 Con,entions Lrior to a survey of the various ways in which the reader2s role in constructing meaning has been theori;ed, we feel we must as+ another set of 1uestions( what is readingA Reception. Theory and Practices 1@

Chapter 1 8 A Dynamic View of Jakobson s Dia!ram what is a te"tA who is the readerA The below7mentioned theoretical approaches have standardi;ed and focused on reading in the past thirty years( sociology of reading( /. Jscarpit, M. 9afargue rhetorics of reading( M. Charles aesthetics of reception( . /. Mauss aesthetics of effect( :. Iser theories of te"t production( M. /iffaterre cognitive semiotics( T. F. Kiy+, 4erge ,audet theory of reading( L. Cornea theories of reading as game( M. Licard. !ll of them have as a starting point the idea that the literary wor+ once produced, does not come to life again but through the thaumaturgical activity of reading, in the absence of which writers would remain only word producers. 1a2 It would be unreasonable to give only one definition of reading. Instead, here follows a set of definitions, each of which, added to the preceding and to the following ones, tries #in a gestaltist manner* to combine into a whole( %eadin! N a set of procedures having as a goal the #re*constitution of the te"t before our eyes, after its e"istence as an ob>ect, a graphic deposit between the pages of a boo+ %eadin! and writing cannot be separated, they are reciprocal and complementary. The Drench narratologist, $erard $enette, writes in Figures ##( ?The te"t is that MOebius strip, the two sides of which #internal and e"ternal, signifying and signified, writing and reading*, twist and change permanently- on this strip, writing never ceases to read itself, and reading never stops writing and rewriting itself@ %eadin! N as an intellectual.mental activity consisting of( the visual perception of signs, the abstracting of real, conceptual, or imaginary facts in mental representations, the identification, comprehension, involuntary memori;ing, co7te"tual and con7te"tual movement for coherence and inter7 and e"tra7te"tual relationships %eadin! N as a social institution, taught and studied in schools, traded on a special mar+et, a constitutive element of culture- it reveals difference +inds of behaviour, customs, preferences of the readers- it treasures the written memory of human+ind- it establishes interpretative norms in accordance with the type of te"t, the taste of the epoch, the evolution of the reading forms. 1b2 The main parameters of a reading situation are as follows( reader-readin! a!ent N the one to whom the act of writing is addressed. 4.he is ob>ect to the influences of the te"t s.he reads, while having his.her own te"tual and e"tra7te"tual field- sub>ect of the reading process, through his multiple possibilities of interpretation, and depending on his linguistic, te"tual, referential, situational competences1B Reception. Theory and Practices

Chapter 1 8 A Dynamic View of Jakobson s Dia!ram author-obCect of readin! #the type of reader he has in mind*, of his own trans7.meta7.e"tra7te"tual influences, and of his writing purpose-moti,ations-intentions of readin! 7 /eading is a pseudo7speech act situation, cumulating different communication intentions( personal. professional, informing, amusement, scientific.aesthetic, etc. moda/ities of restorin! the meanin! of a te.t #mechanisms of te"t understanding*( 7 literal understanding N reading of the lines7 implicit understanding N reading between the lines7 referential, #inter7*relational understanding N reading beyond the lines, achieved through( aiming at the co7te"tual coherence, establishing the relationship between the te"t and the systems of reference and the possible worldsidentifying the authorial intention- identifying the intention of the literary wor+. Thus, the reader does not have complete liberty. The Italian semiotician and novelist 3mberto Jco considers the te"t an organism, a system of internal relations actualising some possible relations and Bnarcoti;ing2 some others. ,efore a te"t is produced, we could invent any +ind of te"ts- once it was produced, we can ma+e it say a lot of things, but it is impossible.illegitimate to have it say what it actually does not. moda/ities of assi!nin! new meanin!1s2 to a te.t ( the reader, according to his competence, wish and ability of co7 operation with the author, imposes new meanings, this way ma+ing his own contribution to the te"t. 1c2 Conventions of reading If an abstract, informed reader becomes the basis for reader7response criticism, are the responses ever li+ely to be empirically validA The problem may be that individual readings are given the authority of generalities. This might be considered a right moment to remember :imsatt and ,eardsley2s affective fallacy( The $%%ective Fallacy is a con%usion bet een the poem and its results & hat it is and hat it does'( #t begins by trying to derive the standards o% criticism %rom the psychological e%%ects o% the poem and ends in impressionism and relativism) #:imsatt P ,eardsley, %&G)( '%* This statement represents the theory of =ew Criticism, which dominated the middle part of the '6 th century. =ew Criticism re>ected the claims of the author and focused on Bthe words on the page2, the meaning of a te"t being available in the arrangements of the words of the te"t and not in other factors such as the reader2s psychology, the author2s intention or the historical conte"t( if the effect of the te"t on the reader is ta+en into account, Bimpressionism and relativism2 ensue. :e do not >udge students simply on what they +now about a given wor+- we presume to evaluate their s+ills and progress as readers, and that presumption ought to indicate our confidence in the e"istence of public and generalisable operations of readingQ it is clear that any literary criticism must assume general operations of reading( all critics must ma+e decisions about what can be ta+en for granted, what must be e"plicitly argued for, what will count as evidence for a particular interpretation and what would count as evidence against it. Indeed, the whole notion of bringing someone to see that a particular interpretation is a good one assumes shared points of departure and common notions of how to read. In short, far from appealing to Bthe te"t itself2 as a source of ob>ectivity, one must assert that the notion of Bwhat the te"t says2 itself depends upon common procedures of reading #Culler %&5%( %'G*. 1+ Reception. Theory and Practices

Chapter 1 8 A Dynamic View of Jakobson s Dia!ram Monathan Culler in this e"tract focuses not on the individual reader as a source of meaning, but on the reading community. /eading is a learned and interpersonal activity, and because it is so rooted in societal education there are bound to e"ist Bcommon procedures2 in the reading process. :hy, then, no reading ever Be"hausts2 a te"tA :hy there never seems to be a Bfinal2 readingA


Reception. Theory and Practices

Chapter 5 8 %eader8(riented *heories !lthough there may be common ground among readers, the range of reading groups and personalities seems too large to agree on the interpretation of a te"t. It is more li+ely that groups of readers would perform similar interpretative moves, but even those moves would be influenced by the personalities of individual readers, and also by the conte"t in which they are performed. 4imilarly, readings of te"ts by cultures seem to change over time, and an interpretation that may have seemed definitive for one generation can be discarded by the ne"t. ! writer has a number of forces and constraints acting upon him or her. :e thought it might be useful to consider whether the same elements act upon the reader. !uthor( language imposes its own rules and we have to conform grammatically, to be understood tradition and genre unspo+en assumptions of the society the author is a part of unconscious desires class race gender the process of editing and publication. /eader( language( any articulation of response is sub>ect to the same forces and constraints as any te"ts tradition and genre( we read within traditions of reading, and our assumptions are based on those traditions. $enre e"pectations create meaning unspo+en assumptions( they are part of the ideology we bring to a te"t unconscious desires( we read what we want to read even if we do not realise that class, race, gender( all are beyond the individual2s control the process of editing and publication( something analogous must ta+e place in the mind between responding, articulating and formally criticising. 5:5: (pen vs c/osed te.ts The way a te"t is read within a culture has political significance. The history of literature is littered with cases of attac+s on, and defenses of particular wor+s that seem to threaten the dominant politics of a given time. Meaning is a political variant, and is so precisely because the literary wor+ can never #or rarely* corrected, but only interpreted. The te"t itself cannot be corrected, but readings of it can. /eception theorists such as Earlhein; 4tierle suggest that popular literature serves to perpetuate and produce naHve readings( the reader collaborates with the te"t and the te"t collaborates with the reader in the production of a self7fulfilling illusion, without using too comple" aesthetic procedures. Reception. Theory and Practices 17

Chapter 5 8 %eader8(riented *heories The same Jco ma+es a distinction between open and closed texts , stressing the fact that the reader as an active principle of interpretation is part of the picture of the generative process of the te"t. is theory rests upon the assumption of what he calls the mode/ reader. e says( To organi*e a text+ its author has to rely upon a series o% codes that assign given contents to the expressions he uses) To ma,e his text communicative+ the author has to assume that the ensemble o% codes he relies upon is the same as that shared by the possible reader) The author has thus to %oresee a model o% the possible reader &herea%ter Model Reader' supposedly able to deal interpretatively ith the expressions in the same ay as the author generatively deals ith them) #%&8&( 8* In the process of #literary* communication, some authors do not consider the possibility of their te"ts being interpreted against a bac+ground of codes different from that intended by them. They have in mind an average addressee referred to a given social conte"t, in which they intend to arouse a precise response. The interpretive path the reader is propelled along is a predetermined one. Moreover, he is not supposed to be a very performative one. Consider, for e"ample, a Ian Dlemming2s Mames ,ond +ind of novel. If we are, by contrast, to thin+ of the reader Mames Moyce must have had in mind when writing 3lysses, the profile of a Bgood 3lysses reader2 can be e"trapolated from the te"t itself, because the pragmatic process of interpretation is not an empirical accident independent of the te"t as te"t, but is a structural element of its generative process. 4uch a reader, or even better, the reader of such a te"t cannot be an illiterate man or someone unaware of both omer2s literary wor+ and Moyce2s contemporary Ireland, but the reader is strictly defined by the le"ical and the syntactical organi;ation of the te"t. 5:9: Lisib/e-%eadab/e-%eader/y vs Scriptib/e-'ritab/e-'riter/y te.ts /oland ,arthes, undoubtedly the most entertaining, witty and daring of the Drench theorists of the %&R6s and %&86s, repeatedly underlined the conventionality of all forms of representation. e defines literature as Ba message of the signification of things and not their meaning # by -signi%ication. # re%er to the process hich produces the meaning and not this meaning itsel%*. This way, ,arthes stresses the process of signification. The worst sin a writer can commit is to pretend that language is a transparent medium through which the reader grasps a solid and unified Btruth2 or Breality2. The virtuous writer recogni;es the artifice of all writing and proceeds to ma+e play with it. !vant7garde writers allow the unconscious of language to rise to the surface( they allow the signifiers to generate meaning at will and to undermine the censorship of the signified and its repressive insistence on one meaning. :hat might be called ,arthes2 poststructuralist period is best represented by his short essay ?The Keath of the !uthor@ #%&R5, in ,arthes %&88*, in which he re>ects the traditional view that the author is the origin of the te"t, the source of its meaning, and the only authority for interpretation. e states that Bthe birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the author2. This sounds li+e a restatement of the familiar =ew Critical dogma about the literary wor+2s autonomy.independence from its historical and biographical bac+ground. The =ew Critics believed that the unity of a te"t 5? Reception. Theory and Practices

Chapter 5 8 %eader8(riented *heories lay not in its authorCs intention, #remember the concept of intentional fallacy they forwarded*, but in its structure, its self7 contained unity, this having, nevertheless, subterranean connections with the te"t2s author, corresponding to his intuitions of the world. 4tructuralism at its turn, though heavily te"t7centered, paved the way for the reintroduction of the reader as a site of critical interest because it focused on the systems that made meanings possible. If the te"t is a Btissue of 1uotations2, it is the reader who must process and ultimately realise its culture. Dor the structuralists the reader was less an entity than a function N a semiotic, ideali;ed site where meaning ultimately resides. !nd still, this reader is difficult to define or locate. ,arthes wrote( /e ,no that a text is not a line o% ords releasing a single -theological. meaning+ the -message o% the $uthor01od+ but a multi0dimensional space in hich a variety o% ritings+ none o% them original+ blend and clash) The text is a tissue o% 2uotations dra n %rom innumerable centres o% culture) 3nce the author is removed+ the claim to decipher the text becomes 2uite %utile) To give a text an $uthor is to impose a limit on that text+ to %urnish it ith a %inal signi%ied+ to close the riting( #n the multiplicity o% riting+ everything is to be disentangled+ nothing deciphered4 the structure can be %ollo ed+ -run. &li,e the thread o% a stoc,ing' at every point and at every level+ but there is nothing beneath5 the space o% riting is to be ranged over+ not pierced4 riting ceaselessly posits meaning ceaselessly to evaporate it+ carrying out a systematic exemption o% meaning) #n precisely this ay literature &it ould be better no to say riting'+ by re%using to assign a -secret.+ an ultimate meaning+ to the text &and to the orld as text'+liberates hat might be called an anti0theological activity+ an activity that is truly revolutionary since to re%use to %ix meaning is+ in the end+ to re%iuse 1od and his hypostases 6 reason+ science+ la ) #%&88( %)8* The B!uthor7$od2 here is replaced by an interte"tual reader. ,arthes2 pronouncements have a political edge, for he sees the refusal to see meaning as both ultimate and author7centred as a refusal to accept traditional :estern power structures. is essay is the locus classicus of anti7authorial statements. ,arthes2 author is stripped of all metaphysical status and reduced to a location #a crossroad*, where language, that infinite storehouse of citations, repetitions, echoes and references, crosses and recrosses. The reader is thus free to enter the te"t from any direction- there is no correct route :hat is new is the idea that readers are free to open and close the te"t2s signifying process without respect for the signified, ta+ing their pleasure of the te"t, following at will the defiles of the signifier as it slips and slides evading the grasp of the signified. This +ind of te"t is a poststructuralist one, totally at the mercy of the reader2s pleasure. The Drench critic also uses the word B>ouissance2 in ?9e Llaisir du te"te@ #%&8S* in contrast to Bplaisir2 to describe different +inds of reading e"perience #it2s one of his sporadic attac+s on the tradition of realism*. Mouissance is often translated as Bbliss2, which suggests some of the sense of se"ual pleasure that the word has in Drench. 4uch a feeling is e"perienced when reading te"ts which force the reader into some +ind of creative, active participation in the act of interpretation. These difficult, thought7provo+ing te"ts ,arthes calls scriptible.writable.writerly. They encourage the reader to produce meanings. On the other hand, realist te"ts, that ma+e no demands on the reader, discouraging him from freely reconnecting te"t and the Balready written2, and allowing the reader only to be a consumer not a producer, because of Reception. Theory and Practices 51

Chapter 5 8 %eader8(riented *heories the familiarity of their conventional aspects, and their being easily read, are lisible.readable.readerly, and only provo+e the less intense Bplaisir2 which is merely comforting, rather than stimulating. ,arthes writes( hat # enjoy in a narrative is not directly its content or even its structure+ but rather the abrasions # impose upon the %ine sur%ace5 # read on+ # s,ip+ # loo, up+ # dip again) /hich has nothing to do ith the deep laceration the text o% bliss in%licts upon language itsel%+ and not upon the simple temporality o% its reading) /hence t o systems o% reading5 one goes straight to the articulations o% the anecdote+ it considers the extent o% the text+ ignores the play o% language) #% # read 7ules 8erne+ # go %ast5 # lose discourse+ and yet my reading is not hampered by any verbal loss) The other reading s,ips nothing4 it eighs+ it stic,s to the text+ it reads+ so to spea,+ ith application and transport+(4 it is not &logical' extension that captivates it+ the inno ing out o% truths+ but the layering o% signi%icance4 as in the children.s game o% topping hands+ the excitement comes not %rom a processive haste but %rom a ,ind o% vertical din &the verticality o% language and o% its destruction'4 it is at the moment hen each &di%%erent' hand s,ips over the next &and not one a%ter the other' that the hole+ the gap+ is created and carries o%% the subject o% the game 6 the subject o% the text) #,arthes, %&8G(%%7%'* There are various positions that the critic can ta+e regarding the problem of where meaning resides( the author, the te"t, the reader. owever, there is another approach, adopted by some reader7response theorists, in which meaning is seen as a product of the interrelationship between te"tual features and reader +nowledge. 3uestions for the student: %. The following statements are concerned with the power and authority of the author. :ith which of them do you agreeA '. The author is the sole source and arbiter of meaning. S. The author is source of meaning only in the sense that he or she is in a privileged position of +nowledge about the te"t. ). The author is the source of meaning but cannot always +now that meaning. G. The author is the initial source of meaning, but meaning becomes public at the point of publication. R. The author is a cultural construction. 5:;: %eader: Dunctions6 Competences and Constraints It depends on the reader if he a//ows the te.t to become a !ame6 or himse/f turns into that which is attacked6 cha//en!ed6 fou!ht back: Eeith $reen and Mill 9e,ihan, in Critical Theory and Practice #%&&R*, begin their e"amination of the reader2s role by as+ing a set of 1uestions that we also suggest for the students. 3uestions for the student: %. :hat part does the reader play in the creation and realisation of the meaning of a te"tA '. :hat is the role of the reader2s own personality in the interpretation of a te"tA S. If the meaning of a te"t is Bpersonal2, is there an unlimited number of possible readingsA ). ow accurate is to spea+ of interaction between te"t and reader, or between author and readerA G. Is there a range of possible meanings which are prescribed in a cultureA 55 Reception. Theory and Practices

Chapter 5 8 %eader8(riented *heories They are primarily concerned with the reading and interpretative processes. The intention is to loo+ at the personal, social and cultural aspects of constructed readings of te"ts and at the role of the reader in the situation of meaning. The following 1uotations, followed by commentaries, analy;e the way readers ma+e sense of te"ts. W. Iser: the gaps in the text The following is an e"tract from :olfgang Iser2s essay ?Interaction between Te"t and /eader@( Communication in literature ( is a process set in motion and regulated+ not by a given code+ but by a mutually restrictive and magni%ying interaction bet een the explicit and the implicit+ bet een revelation and concealment) /hat is concealed spurs the reader into action+ but this action is also controlled by hat is revealed4 the explicit in its turn is trans%ormed hen the implicit has been brought to light) /hen the reader bridges the gaps+ communication begins) The gaps %unction as a ,ind o% pivot on hich the hole text0reader relationship resolves)9ence+ the structured blan,s o% the text stimulate the process o% ideation to be per%ormed by the reader on terms set by the text) There is+ ho ever+ another place in the textual system here text and reader converge+ and that is mar,ed by the various types o% negation hich arise in the course o% the reading) :lan,s and negations both control the process o% communication in their o n di%%erent ays5 the blan,s leave open the connection bet een textual perspectives+ and so spur the reader into coordinating these perspectives and patterns 6 in other ords+ they induce the reader to per%orm basic operations ithin the text) The various types o% negation invo,e %amiliar and determinate elements or ,no ledge only to cancel them out) /hat is cancelled+ ho ever+ remains in vie + and thus brings about modi%ications in the reader.s attitude to ard hat is %amiliar or determinate 6 in other ords+ he is guided to adopt a position in relation to the text) #Iser, %&56( %%%7'* The reading process for Iser is characteri;ed by the response to the structures of the te"t and a reali;ation or actuali;ation of its gaps. /eading is therefore a dynamic process. It is neither predetermined by generic conventions nor open to infinite interpretation. The advantage of Iser2s theory is that the te"t is not seen as fi"ed and absolute, but as a fluid entity, although he does not go as far as ,arthes in his assessment of the reader2s Bstruggle2 with the te"t( This -#. hich approaches the text is already itsel% a plurality o% other texts+ o% codes hich are in%inite or more precisely+ lost & hose origin is lost') 3bjectivity and subjectivity are o% course %orces hich can ta,e over the text+ but they are %orces hich have no a%%inity ith it) !ubjectivity is a plenary image+ ith hich # may be thought to encumber the text+ but hose deceptive plenitude is merely the a,e o% all the codes that constitute me+ so that ultimately my subjectivity has the generality o% stereotypes) #,arthes, %&8)( %6* ,arthes considers the BI2.the reader to be a compound of other te"ts, even though not immediately or simply identifiable, not a uni1uely e"periencing individual. Therefore, the sub>ectivity with which he is supposed to function in relation to a te"t is only an image. Thus, the sub>ect that encounters the te"t is not a stable, uni1ue BI2, but a stereotype constituted from various other te"tual codes. One te"t is potentially capable of several different reali;ations, and no reading can ever e"haust the full potential, for each individual reader will fill in the gaps in his own way, thereby e"cluding the various other possibilities #Iser, %&8)( '8%*. Reception. Theory and Practices 59

Chapter 5 8 %eader8(riented *heories The te"t provo+es certain e"pectations that in turn we pro>ect onto the te"t in such a way as to reduce the polysemantic interpretation in +eeping with the e"pectations aroused, thus e"tracting an individual, configurative meaning #Iser, idem( '8&*. ere, Iser tal+s about the te"t Bprovo+ing2 responses. ,ut how can we separate that which the te"t provo+es from that which the readers inscribe on the te"tA 3uestions for the student: %. ow many reali;ations are possibleA #Iser seems to suggest an infinity because the te"t2s Bfull potential2 is made possible by an infinite number of readers.* '. :hat form might they ta+eA S. :hat are the Bgaps2 Iser spea+s ofA H. R. Jauss: horizons of expectations Mauss, an important $erman e"ponent of Breception theory2 #/e;eptionTstheti+*, gave a historical dimension to reader7 oriented criticism. e tries to achieve a compromise between /ussian Dormalism #which ignores history*, and social theories #which ignore the te"t*. :riting within a period of social unrest at the end of the %&R6s, Mauss and others wanted to 1uestion the old canon off $erman literature and to show that it was perfectly reasonable to do so. e borrows from the philosophy of science #T. 4. Euhn* the term Bparadigm2, which refers to the scientific framewor+ of concepts and assumptions operating in a particular period. BOrdinary science2 does its e"perimental wor+ within the mental world of a particular paradigm, until a new paradigm displaces the old one and establishes new assumptions. Mauss uses the term Bhori;on of e"pectations2 to describe the criteria readers use to >udge literary te"ts in any given period. These criteria will help the reader decide how to >udge a poem as, for e"ample, an epic, or a tragedy or a pastoral- it will also, in a more general way, cover what is to be regarded as poetic or literary as opposed to un7poetic or non7literary uses of language. Ordinary writing and reading will wor+ within such a hori;on. Dor e"ample, if we consider the Jnglish !ugustan period, we might say that !le"ander Lope2s poetry was >udged according to criteria that were based upon values of clarity, naturalness and stylistic decorum. owever, this does not establish once and for all the value of Lope2s poetry. Kuring the second half of the %5 th century, commentators began to 1uestion his status as a poet at all, and to suggest that he was a clever versifier who put prose into rhyming couplets and lac+ed the imaginative power re1uired of true poetry. Modern readings of Lope wor+ within a changed hori;on of e"pectations( we now value his poems for their wit, comple"ity, moral insight and renewal of literary tradition. The original hori;on of e"pectations only tells us how the wor+ was valued and interpreted when it appeared, but does not establish its meaning finally. In Mauss2s view it would be e1ually wrong to say that a wor+ is universal, that its meaning is fi"ed forever and open to all readers in any period( $ literary or, is not an object hich stands by itsel% and hich o%%ers the same %ace to each reader in each period) #t is not a monument hich reveals its timeless essence in a monologue) #Mauss, %&5'( ')* This means, obviously, that we will never be able to survey the successive hori;ons which flow from the time of a wor+ down to the present day and then, with an Olympian detachment, to sum up the wor+2s final value or meaning. To do so 5; Reception. Theory and Practices

Chapter 5 8 %eader8(riented *heories would be to ignore our own historical situation. :hose authority should we acceptA That of the first readersA The combined opinion of readers over timeA The aesthetic >udgment of the presentA Mauss2s answers to these 1uestions derive from the philosophical Bhermeneutics2 of ans7$eorg $adamer, a follower of eidegger #Bhermeneutics2 was a term originally applied to the interpretation of sacred te"ts*. $adamer argues that all interpretations of past literature arise from a dialogue between past and present. Our attempts to understand a wor+ will depend on the 1uestions that our own cultural environment allows us to raise. !t the same time, we see+ to discover the 1uestions that the wor+ itself was trying to answer in its own dialogue with history. Our present perspective always involves a relationship to the past, but at the same time the past can only be grasped through the limited perspective of the present. Lut in this way, the tas+ of establishing +nowledge of the past seems hopeless. 4till, a hermeneutical notion of Bunderstanding2 does not separate +nower and ob>ect in the familiar manner of empirical sciencerather it views understanding as a Bfusion2 of past and present( we cannot ma+e our >ourney into the past without ta+ing the present with us. Mauss recogni;es that a writer may directly affront the prevailing e"pectations of his or her day. e, himself, e"amines the case of the Drench poet ,audelaire whose Les Fleurs du mal created, in the %&th century, uproar and attracted legal prosecution, by offending the norms of bourgeois morality and the canons of romantic poetry. =evertheless, the poem also immediately produced a new aesthetic hori;on of e"pectations. 5:@: *he SubCecti,e Eerspecti,e th The '6 century has seen a steady assault upon the ob>ective certainties of %& th century science. Jinstein2s theory of relativity alone cast doubt on the belief that ob>ective +nowledge was simply a relentless and progressive accumulation of facts. The philosopher, T. 4. Euhn, has shown that what emerges as a Bfact2 in science depends upon the frame of reference which the scientific observer brings to the ob>ect of understanding. $estalt psychology argues that the human mind does not perceive things in the world as unrelated bits and pieces but as configurations of elements, themes, or meaningful, organi;ed wholes. Individual items loo+ different in different conte"ts, and even within a single field of vision they will be interpreted according to whether they are seen as Bfigure2 or Bground2. These approaches and others have insisted that the perceiver is active and not passive in the act of perception. In the case of the famous duc+7rabbit pu;;le, only the perceiver can decide how to orient the configuration of lines. Is it a duc+ loo+ing left, or a rabbit loo+ing rightA ow does this modern emphasis on the observer2s active role affect literary theoryA Consider once more /oman Ma+obson2s model of linguistic communication( '%I*$% C(#*$F* %$AD$% '%I*I#G C(D$ The /ussian Dormalist, the same as the representatives of the !merican =ew Criticism #Mohn Crowe /ansom, Cleanth ,roo+s, :. E. :imsatt, M. C. ,eardsley* and its ,ritish counterpart, Lractical Criticism #I. !. /ichards, D. /. 9eavis*, believed that literary discourse is different from other +inds of discourse by having a Bset to the message2, something to say( a poem is about itself #its form, its imagery, its literary meaning* before it is about the poet, the reader or the world. The two Reception. Theory and Practices 5@

Chapter 5 8 %eader8(riented *heories essays BThe Intentional Dallacy2 #%&)R* and the BThe !ffective Dallacy2 #%&)&* written by :imsatt in collaboration with ,eardsley, engage with the addresser-writer messa!e-te.t addressee-reader in the pursuit of an Bob>ective2 criticism which ab>ures both the personal input of the writer #Bintention2* and the emotional effect on the reader #Baffect2* in order purely to study the Bwords on the page2 and how the artifact Bwor+s2. owever, if we re>ect this formalist perspective and adopt that of the reader or audience, the whole orientation of Ma+obson2s diagram changes. Drom this angle, we can say that the poem has no real e"istence until it is read- its meaning can only be discussed by its readers. :e differ about interpretations only because our ways of reading differ. It is the reader who applies the code in which the message is written and in this way actualises what would otherwise remain only potentially meaningful. The success of this piece of communication depends on the ,iewer s know/ed!e of the code , and the ,iewer s abi/ity to comp/ete what is incomp/ete , or se/ect what is si!nificant and i!nore what is not . 4een in this way the addressee is not a passive recipient of an entirely formulated meaning, but an active agent in the ma+ing of meaning. is tas+ is made more difficult if the message is not stated within a completely closed system. The 1uestion of meaning can also be addressed by a range of 1uestions that have bothered theorists of language #the literary one included* for a very long time. 3uestions for the student: 'here is meanin!= Is it in the author s intentions6 in the te.t6 or in the readin!= - If it is in the te"t, is it in the te"t now, or in the te"t as a historical, culturally situated document, so that to fully understand the meaning we might best understand the cultural and aesthetic codes and the traditions and the meanings of the particular time of writingA - If it is in the author2s intentions, is that in the conscious, or the unconscious intentionsA In the intentions before or after the writing, or somewhere in betweenA Can, in this case, the te"t have meanings of which the author was not awareA - If the meaning is in the reading, is that an informed reading, or any reading, and what difference does that distinction really signalA Is it in an ideal non7historical reading, or in a historically and culturally placed readingA 5:B: *he #ature of Aeanin! !ll literary theories have to account for meaning, whether as that which is communicated directly from author to reader #I. !. /ichards*, or that which is inherent in the words of a te"t #=ew Critics*, or that which arises from its structure #structuralism*. The approaches considered in this chapter ma+e a special study of the problems that arise when we e"tract meaning from a te"t through the process of reading and attempt to validate that meaning as correct. =ot all meaning is, however, immediately and unambiguously accessible- this fact has long >ustified the e"istence of interpreters and theories of interpretation. !ny theory of interpretation has to come to grips with a divergence of views as to its scope( a divergence which is connected to the more general philosophical debate between ob>ectivism and relativism, that is, between the conviction that there is some permanent a7historical matri" or framewor+ to which we can ultimately appeal in determining the nature of rationality, +nowledge, truth, reality, goodness or rightness, and the opposing view that 5B Reception. Theory and Practices

Chapter 5 8 %eader8(riented *heories there is no such matri", and that we are irredeemably caught in a >ungle of mutually e"clusive values and conceptual schemes, none of which can prove its correctness against any other #,ernstein %&5)*. !ny account of interpretation and of reading presupposes a number of assumptions about the nature of meaning, understanding and communication, and this gives rise to a recurring set of problems. Aeanin! can be conceived of either as that which arises from the words and propositions of the te.t , constituting its Bsemantic autonomy2, or as that which the author or reader as subCect means. The Bob>ective2 fact of the te"t is considered against the Bsub>ective2 act of intending or ma+ing sense #/icoeur %&8R( %'7 %)*. The specific form in which this alternative e"ists in literary studies is the ob>ectivist.sub>ectivist debate, the former position arguing that there is one correct meaning inhering in any te"t, the latter that there are as many meanings as there are readers. These two positions correspond to the Blogicist2 and Bhistoricist2 accounts of meaning( 7 the former argues that meaning is an ideal ob>ect which can be identified and reidentified by different individuals at different times, 7 the latter claims that meaning is an historical event determined by the conte"t in which it occurred and possibly also by the historical situation of its interpreter. Moreover, in dealing with our e"perience of literary te"ts, we encounter the 1uestion of reference( the fictional nature of literary te"ts causes them to lose the guarantee of reality as touchstone, and ma+es the process of legitimi;ing an interpretation all the more difficult #see Te"t and reality above*. 4uch assumptions, and such problems, lead on to even vaster philosophical and linguistic 1uestions about the nature of meaning, its relationship to history, and the relationship of semantics to pragmatics #the study of those features of language whose meaning depends on time, person or place*, of e"perience to +nowledge, of particulars to universals. The apparently simple 1uestion( how far does a te"t determine its own meaning, and how far is that meaning determined by a readerA is thus anything but simple. Theorists of interpretation, approaching these issues with different methods and starting from different premises, are drawn into wider philosophical, psychological and linguistic debates. !t this point in our study, we thought it might be of some interest to have a broader perspective and s+im through the positions of the most representative '6 th century critical theories concerning the already formulated 1uestion of whether or not the te"t itself triggers the reader2s interpretation, or whether the reader2s own interpretive strategies impose solutions upon the problems thrown up by the te"t. 5:+: %eader8%esponse Criticism These are general positions within the understanding that the Bmeaning2 of a te"t is what happens when the reader reads it. The positions presuppose various attitudes towards such considerations as( the 1uestion of in what sense a te"t, in+7mar+s on a page or electrons on a screen, e"ist, the e"tent to which +nowledge is ob>ective or sub>ective, the 1uestion of whether the world as we e"perience it is culturally constructed or has an essential e"istencehow the gap, historically, culturally and semiotically #as reading is a decoding of signs which have varying meanings* between the reader and the writer is bridged, and the e"tent to which it is bridged, Reception. Theory and Practices 5+

Chapter 5 8 %eader8(riented *heories the 1uestion of the e"tent to which interpretation is a public act, conditioned by the particular material and cultural circumstances of the reader, vs. the e"tent to which reading is a private act governed by a response to the relatively independent codes of the te"t, the 1uestion of what the process of reading is li+e, what it entails, and so forth. The Psychoanalytic vie : The reader responds to the core fantasies and the symbolic groundwor+ of the te"t in a highly personal way- while the te"t contributes material for inner reali;ation which can be shared across consciousnesses #as we share fundamental paradigms, symbols, etc*, the real meaning of the te"t is the meaning created by the individualCs psyche in response to the wor+, at the unconscious level and at a subse1uent conscious level, as the material provided by the te"t opens a path between the two, occasioning richer self7+nowledge and reali;ation. The Her!eneutic vie : The te"t means differently because the reader decodes it according to his world7view, his hori;ons, yet having the understanding that the te"t may be operating within a different hori;on- hence there is an interaction between the world of the te"t as it was constructed and the world of the reader. The reader can only approach the te"t with his own foreunderstanding, which is grounded in history. owever, as the te"t is similarly grounded in history, and as often there is much in the histories that is shared as well as what is not, there is both identity and strangeness. The Pheno!enological vie : The te"t functions as a set of instructions for its own processing, but it is as well indeterminate, needs to be completed, to be concreti;ed. The Breality2 of the te"t lies between the reader and the te"t( it is the result of the dialectic between wor+ and reader. The "tructuralist vie : Kecoding the te"t re1uires various levels of competence 7 competence in how te"ts wor+, in the genre and tradition of the te"t, etc., as the wor+ is constructed according to sets of conventions which have their basis in an ob>ective, socially shared reality. The Bmeaning2 then depends largely on the competence of the reader in responding to the structures and practices of the te"t and which operate implicitly #i.e. they affect us without our +nowing it*- the competent reader can ma+e these e"plicit. The Political or ideological vie : Te"ts include statements, assumptions, attitudes, which are intrinsically ideological, i.e. e"press attitudes towards and beliefs about certain sets of social and political realities, relations, values and powers. !s a te"t is produced in a certain social and material milieu, it cannot not have embedded ideological assumptions. The reader himself will have ideological convictions and understandings as well, often unrecogni;ed, as is the nature of ideology, which understandings will condition and direct the reading and the application of the reading. ! Bcritical2 reading will demystify the ideologies of the te"t within the frame of the ideologies of the reader. :ithout such a critical reading, the te"t may reinforce #potentially pernicious, even if only because unrecogni;ed* aspects of the reader2s 54 Reception. Theory and Practices

Chapter 5 8 %eader8(riented *heories #culturally produced* ideology, and.or the reader may Bmiss2 meanings and connections for want of an understanding of the ideological structure of the te"t. The Post#structuralist vie $s%: Meaning is indeterminate, it is not Bin2 the te"t but in the play of language and the nuances of conventions in which the reader is immersed( hence the reader constructs a te"t as he participates in this play, driven by the instabilities and meaning potentials of the semantic and rhetorical aspects of the te"t. 4tanley Dish2s view here is that the reader belongs to an interpretive community which will have taught the reader to see a certain set of forms, topics and so forth- his is one view which refers to the world of discourse of the reader as being the determining factor. Tony ,ennett, from a more Mar"ist position, sees readers as belonging to Creading formationsC. In various sorts of post7structuralist reading the reading process may involve the reader2s countering and.or re7interpreting prevailing views, depending on various things, including( the force of the direction of the te"t to the reader- the potential reconceptuali;ation, freeing7up of meaning the te"t can effect- the openness to the play of language and meaning of the reader. The te"t may Bdeconstruct itself2, i.e. the reader may e"perience or see that the language of the te"t implicitly undermines its own assumptions 7the real agent here as in all post7structuralist positions being the reader, open to polysemy #multiple meanings and the sliding and interplay of signs* 7 in her Bown2 #socially shared* world of discourse, in a world discursively and socially constructed. ,elow, we elaborated on some particular postions inside these main directions of approach( Ehenomeno/o!y: <usser/6 <eide!!er and Gadamer One important basis for many theories of reading is the philosophy of phenomenology. ! modern philosophical tendency that stresses the perceiver2s central role in determining meaning is +nown as Bphenomenology2. !ccording to Jdmund usserl the proper ob>ect of philosophical investigation is the contents of our consciousness and not ob>ects in the world. Consciousness is always of something, and it is the Bsomething2 that appears to our consciousness which is truly real to us. In addition, argued usserl, we discover in the things which appear in consciousness #Bphenomena2 in $ree+, meaning Bthings appearing2* their universal and essential 1ualities. Lhenomenology claims to show us the underlying nature both of human consciousness and of Bphenomena2. This was an attempt to revive the idea that the individual human mind is the centre and origin of all meaning. In literary theory this approach did not encourage a purely sub>ective concern for the critic2s mental structure but a type of criticism which tries to enter into the world of a writer2s wor+s and to arrive at an understanding of the underlying nature or essence of the writings as they appear to the critic2s consciousness. The early wor+ of M. . Miller, the !merican #later deconstructionist* critic, was influenced by the phenomenological theories of the so7called B$eneva 4chool2 of critics, who included $eorges Loulet and Mean 4tarobins+i. Dor e"ample, Miller2s first study of Thomas ardy, Thomas 9ardy5 "istance and "esire #%&86*, uncovers the novel2s pervasive mental structures, namely Bdistance2 and Bdesire2. The act of interpretation is possible, because the te"ts allow the reader2s access to the author2s consciousness, which, says Loulet, Bis open to me, lets me loo+ deep inside itself, andQallows meQto thin+ what it thin+s and feel what it feels2. Reception. Theory and Practices 57

Chapter 5 8 %eader8(riented *heories The shift towards a reader7oriented theory is prefigured in the re>ection of usserl2s Bob>ective2 view by its pupil Martin eidegger, who argued that what is distinctive about human e"istence is its Kasein #Bgivenness2*( our consciousness both pro>ects the things of the world and at the same time is sub>ected to the world by the very nature of e"istence in the world. :e find ourselves Bflung down2 into the world, into a time and place we did not choose, but simultaneously it is our world in so far as our consciousness pro>ects it. :e can never adopt an attitude of detached contemplation, loo+ing down upon thee world as if from a mountain top. :e are inevitably merged with the very ob>ect of our consciousness. Our thin+ing is always in a situation and is therefore always historical, although this history is not e"ternal and social but personal and inward. It was ans7$eorg $adamer who, in Truth and Method #%&8G*, applied eidegger2s situational approach to literary theory. e argued that a literary wor+ does not pop into the world as a finished and neatly parcelled bundle of meaningrather meaning depends on the historical situation of the interpreter. $adamer influenced to a large e"tent Breception theory2. Gera/d Erince: the narratee ! 1uite natural 1uestion has been posed by the narratologist $erald Lrince( why, when we study novels, do we ta+e such pains to identify and discriminate between the various +inds of narrators #omniscient, unreliable, implied author, etc.*, but we never as+ 1uestions about the person to whom the narrator addresses the discourse. ,ut the 1uestion has been as+ed long before the '6 th century. In his essay, ?Of the 4tandard of Taste@ #%8)%*, ume describes an ideal reader, who attempts to forget his Bindividual being2 and Bpeculiar circumstance2 and consider himself as Ba man in general2 in order to rid himself of the distortions of pre>udice. /eader7/esponse Criticism argues that all te"ts construct, by implication, an imagined reader of which ume2s ideal is only one possibility. Other similar terms are Bsuper7reader2, Binformed reader2 and Bencoded reader2. This person Lrince calls the Bnarratee2. :e +now a competent reader is not supposed to mista+e the author for the narrator- neither should he confuse the narratee with the reader. The narrator may specify a narratee in terms of se" #Kear MadamQ2*, class #gentlemen2*, situation #the Breader2 in his armchair*, race #white*, or age #mature*. Jvidently actual readers may or may not coincide with the person addressed by the narrator. !n actual reader may be blac+, male, young factory7wor+er reading in bed. The narratee is also distinguished from the Bvirtual reader2 #the sort of reader whom the author has in mind when developing the narrative* and the Bideal reader2 #the perfectly insightful reader who understands the writer2s every move*. ow do we learn to identify narrateesA There are many Bsignals2, direct or indirect, which contribute to our +nowledge of the narratee. In every te"t, a variety of features will point towards the +ind of reader for which it is intended. These include the tone, assumptions about what a reader will and will not +now, difficulty or simplicity of argument, the diction, >argon, allusions, irony, and so on. Fery comple" and difficult te"ts Bconstruct2 or imply #or re1uire* readers with a high degree of literary competence, as well as intelligence, patience and perseverance, to the point where reading is an imaginative process not dissimilar to the creative act itself. The assumptions of the narratee may be attac+ed, supported, 1ueried, or solicited by the narrator who will thereby strongly imply the narratee2s character. :hen the narrator apologi;es for certain inade1uacies in the discourse #BI cannot 9? Reception. Theory and Practices

Chapter 5 8 %eader8(riented *heories convey this e"perience in words2*, this indirectly tells us something of the narratee2s susceptibilities and values. Jven in a novel which appears to ma+e no direct reference to a narratee we can pic+ up tiny signals. The second term of a comparison, for e"ample, often indicates the +ind of world familiar to him #Bthe song was as sincere as a TF >ingle2*. 4ometimes the narratee is an important character. Dor e"ample, in ! Thousand and One =ights the very survival of the narrator, 4chehera;ade, depends on the continued attention of the narratee, the caliph- if he loses interest in her stories, she must die. Lrince2s elaborated theory highlights a dimension of narration that had been only intuitively understood by readers( he draws the reader7oriented theorists2 attention to ways in which narratives produce their own readers or listeners, who may or may not coincide with actual readers. owever, many writers ignore this distinction between #actual* reader and narratee. Stan/ey Dish: the reader s e.perience !n !merican critic of %8th century literature, 4tanley Dish developed a reader7oriented perspective called an Baffective stylistics2. 9i+e Iser, he concentrates on the ad>ustments of e"pectation to be made by readers as they pass along the te"t, but considers this at the immediately local level of the sentence. e separates his approach from that of all +inds of formalism by denying literary language any special status- we use the same reading strategies to interpret literary and non7 literary sentences. is attention is directed to the developing responses of the reader in relation to the words of sentences as they succeed one another in time. Dor e"ample, he gives special attention to the following sentence by :alter Later( BThis at least of flame7li+e, our life has, that it is but the concurrence, renewed from moment to moment, of forces parting sooner or later on their ways.2 e points out that by interrupting Bconcurrence of forces2 with Brenewed from moment to moment2, Later prevents the reader from establishing a definite or stable image in the mind, and at each stage in the sentence forces the reader to ma+e an ad>ustment in e"pectation and interpretation. The idea of Bthe concurrence2 is disrupted by Bparting2, but then Bsooner or later2 leaves the Bparting2 temporally uncertain. The reader2s e"pectation of meaning is thus continuously ad>usted( the meaning is the total movement of reading. Monathan Culler has lent general support to Dish2s aims, but critici;ed him for failing to give a proper theoretical formulation of his reader criticism. Dish believes that his readings of sentences simply follow the natural practice of informed readers. In his view, a reader is someone who possesses a Blinguistic competence2, has internali;ed the syntactic and semantic +nowledge re1uired for reading. The Binformed reader2 of literary te"ts has also ac1uired a specifically Bliterary competence2, i.e. +nowledge of literary conventions. Culler critici;es Dish for two reasons( he fails to theori;e the conventions of reading( that is, he fails to as+ the 1uestion B:hat conventions do readers follow when they readA2 is claim to read sentences word by word in a temporal se1uence is misleading( there is no reason to believe that readers actually do ta+e in sentences in such a piecemeal and gradual way. There is something fictitious about Dish2s continual willingness to be surprised by the ne"t word in a se1uence. In order to sustain his reader orientation, Dish has to suppress the fact that the actual e"perience of reading is not the same thing as a verbal rendering of that e"perience. ,y treating his own reading e"perience as itself an act of interpretation, he is ignoring Reception. Theory and Practices 91

Chapter 5 8 %eader8(riented *heories the gap between e"perience and the understanding of an e"perience. Therefore, it may be said that what Dish gives us is not a definitive account of the nature of reading but his understanding of his own reading e"perience. In B#s There a Text in This Class;. #%&56*, 4tanley Dish >ustifies the fact that his earlier wor+ treated his own e"perience of reading as the norm, and goes on to >ustify this position by introducing the idea of Binterpretative communities2. Of course, there may be many different groups of readers who adopt particular +inds of reading strategies, but, as he argues, the strategies of a particular interpretative community determine the entire process of reading N the stylistic facts of the te"ts and the e"perience of reading them. This way, by accepting the category of interpretative communities, Dish as+s us to reduce the whole process of meaning7production to the already e"isting conventions of the interpretative community, and, in the same time, seems to abandon all possibility of deviant interpretation or resistances to the norms that govern acts of interpretation. %eader psycho/o!y Two !merican critics have derived approaches to reader theory from psychology. =orman olland adopts a specific theoryNBego7psychology27 according to which every child receives the imprint of a Bprimary identity2 from its mother. The adult has an Bidentity theme2 that, li+e a musical theme, is capable of variation but remains a central structure of stable identity. :hen we read a te"t, we process it in accordance with our identity theme( we Buse the literary wor+ to symboli;e and finally replicate ourselves2. In other words, we recast the wor+ to discover our own characteristic strategies for coping with the deep fears and wishes that shape our psychic lives. The reader2s inbuilt defense mechanisms must be placated to allow access to the te"t. ! dramatic e"ample is a case cited by olland of a boy compulsively driven to read detective stories to satisfy his aggressive feelings towards his mother by allying himself with the murderer. The stories not only too+ the imprint of his desires but also allowed him to assuage his guilt by associating himself with the victim and also the detective. In this way the boy was able to gratify his instincts and set up defenses against an"iety and guilt. The e"ample raises a number of 1uestions about olland theory. In more typical instances, readers assert control over te"ts by discovering unifying themes and structures in them that enable the readers to internali;e the te"t( Putting ithin yoursel% and so controlling something that is outside here it cannot be controlled but see,s to control you) olland emphasi;es the interplay between the reader2s identity theme and the te"t2s unity( the latter is discovered by the reader as an e"pression of his or her identity theme. Kavid ,leich2s !ubjective Criticism #%&85* is a sophisticated argument in favour of a shift from an ob>ective to a sub>ective paradigm in critical theory. e argues that modern philosophers of science #especially T. 4. Euhn* have correctly denied the e"istence of an ob>ective world of facts. Jven in science, the perceiver2s mental structures will decide what counts as an ob>ective fact( BEnowledge is made by people and not found UbecauseV the ob>ect of observation appears changed by the act of observation.2 e goes on to insist that the advances of B+nowledge2 are determined by the needs of the community. :hen we say that Bscience2 has replaced Bsuperstition2, we are describing not a passage from dar+ness to light, but a change in paradigm which occurs when certain urgent needs of the community come into conflict with old beliefs and demand new beliefs. 95 Reception. Theory and Practices

Chapter 5 8 %eader8(riented *heories The child2s ac1uisition of language, argues ,leich, enables it to establish a sub>ective control of e"perience. :e can understand another2s words only as a Bmotivated act2. Jvery utterance indicates an intention and every act of interpreting an utterance is a conferring of meaning. 4ince this is true of all human attempts to e"plain e"perience, we can best understand the arts if we as+( what are the motives of those who create Bsymbolic2 renderings of e"perienceA what are the individual and communal occasions for their response and creativityA B4ub>ective criticism2 is based on the assumption that Beach person2s most urgent motivations are to understand themselves2. In his classroom e"periments, ,leich was led to distinguish between( the reader2s spontaneous Bresponse2 to a te"t and the Bmeaning2 the reader attributed to it. The latter is usually presented as an Bob>ective2 interpretation #something offered for negotiation in a pedagogic situation*, but is necessarily developed from the sub>ective response of the reader. :hatever system of thought is being employed #moralist, Mar"ist, structuralist, psychoanalytic, etc.*, interpretation of particular te"ts will normally reflect the sub>ective individuality of a personal Bresponse2. The final >udgment of Bmeaning2 has an ob>ective appearance but is evidently built upon the initial Bresponse2. One possible conclusion might be that the two !mericans regard reading as a process that satisfies or at least depends upon the psychological needs of the reader. :hatever one thin+s of these reader7oriented theories, there is no doubt that they seriously challenge the predominance of the te"t7oriented theories of =ew Criticism and Dormalism. :e can no longer tal+ about the meaning of a te"t without considering the reader2s contribution to it. 5:4: A Eostscript. This chapter, obviously the most consistent one of this course, has concentrated on the R&'(&R#T&)T relationship and on the problems of interpretation for reader and critic. 4ince the mid7%&86s, these approaches have tended to be swallowed up by a generali;ed Breader7response criticism2. 4tanley Dish notes( The -reader in literature. is regularly the subject o% %orums and or,shops at the convention o% the Modern Language $ssociation4 (any list o% currently active schools o% literary criticism includes the school o% -reader0response.+()None o% this ( means that a reader0centered criticism is no invulnerable to challenge or attac,+ merely that it is no recogni*ed as a competing literary strategy hich cannot be dismissed simply by being named) #Dish %&56( S))* !s one could have already noticed by now, the list of the different perspectives from which the reader.receiver of the literary te"t is approached, is a very eclectic one( this area of criticism threatens to engulf all the approaches usually described in any survey of modern literary theory. :hat unites these otherwise incompatible contributors is their interest in such 1uestions as those below, that we also suggest to our students. 3uestions for the student: what is the reader doingA 99 Reception. Theory and Practices

Chapter 5 8 %eader8(riented *heories what is being done to himA and to what endA is reading an act, structured li+e a pseudo7conversation with the te"tA is the reader a set of suprapersonal codesA Or a set of symptomsA Or the locus of Bliterary2 competenceA what frames of reference are brought by the reader to the te"tA It has always been seen perfectly reasonable for a practicing interpreter #either as reader or as critic* to en1uire into the activity in which he or she is engaged. In the case of literature, this has led critics at certain times to stress the separateness and the ob>ective nature of literary te"ts N as did the Dormalists and the =ew Critics- at other times #and certainly since the rise of post7structuralism*, this division between literature and other forms of written e"pression has been called into 1uestion, and the role of the historically and culturally situated reader in constituting the meaning of te"ts has been highlighted. /eader7response criticism has been seen as a conse1uence of this desire to Bre7politici;e literature and literary criticism2. In the present state of the art, the 1uestions as+ed by phenomenology, hermeneutics and reception theory #if not the answers provided* seem assured of a place in the deliberations of theorists and critics, even if the first two of these approaches do more to >ustify and describe the process of reading and interpretation than to provide models for critical practice. 3uestions and tasks for the student: 1: 'hat do you know on the obCecti,ist-,s-subCecti,ist debate on the nature of meanin!= 5: List the main positions within the understandin! that the meanin! of a te.t is what happens when the reader reads it: 9: 'hat distin!uishes what "mberto $co ca//ed Hopen te.tsI from Hc/osed te.ts= ;: 'hat does %o/and Jarthes c/aim in his famous essay H*he Death of the AuthorI= @: 'hat are Iser s !aps= B: 'hat does Jauss understand by readers HhoriKons of e.pectationsI= +: <ow has the phi/osophy of phenomeno/o!y inf/uenced interpretati,e theories= 4: 'ho is Gera/d Erince s HnarrateeI= 7: %eader s e.perience or /iterary competence= 1?: $.tend upon the #orman <o//and and Da,id J/eich s Hpsycho/o!ica/I approach to /iterature: 11: Draw6 if possib/e6 your own conc/usion with reference to the authority of the author and the ro/e of the reader in a 9??? word essay: G/ossary of Literary *erms 'ffective criticis! B!ffect2 is a psychological term denoting feeling or emotion attached to an idea. !ffective criticism e"amines literature in terms of the feelings it evo+es in the reader, a procedure denounced by the =ew Critics as liable to be distorted by personal sub>ectivity #see !ffective fallacy*./eader7/esponse criticism has renewed interest in the affective 1uality of literature. 9; Reception. Theory and Practices

Chapter 5 8 %eader8(riented *heories Close e"amination of the process of reading as a changing and dynamic e"perience has shown how the constant modification and manipulation of feeling plays a significant part in the e"perience of the te"t. 'ffective fallacy The title of an essay by the !merican critics :. E. :imsatt and M. C. ,eardsley, printed in :imsatt2s The Ferbal Icon #%&G)*. They argue that >udging a poem by its effects or emotional impact on the reader is a fallacious method of criticism, resulting only in impressionistic criticism. 4ee also Criticism, Intentional fallacy, =ew Criticism. 'uthor In the =ew Criticism it was considered wrong to e"amine a wor+ in the light of the author2s intentions or biography, because the te"t was supposed to be autonomous. The concept and significance of authorship has been put under attac+ by Drench critics li+e /oland ,arthes, in his essay ?The Keath of the !uthor@ #%&R5*, and Michel Doucault in ?:hat is an !uthorA@#%&R&*. The first argues that the criticBs obsession with authorship is a way of falsely pining down the meaning of a te"t and refusing to contemplate it as an infinite Btissue of signs2. The second places authorship in a historical conte"t to show that the concept is culturally determined, and that different societies at different times have not perceived boo+s necessarily as the original creations of gifted individuals. Those critics who ob>ect to a hierarchy of discourses in a te"t point out that the concept of Bauthor2 relates to the idea of authority. In the view of Keconstructive criticism, to thin+ of the author as a +ind of absolute and specially privileged creator of meaning is a falsification of the nature of language( as meaning is constructed by the readers #not the writer*, no final meaning is available for any te"t. To view literary wor+s as mysterious creations of god7li+e beings, in the view of mar"ist critics, tends to be a way of ignoring the social and political conte"ts in which writing is produced. Carnivalisation ! literary phenomenon described by the /ussian critic Mi+hail ,a+htin, especially in his wor+ Rabelais and 9is /orld #%&RG*. !ccording to him some writers use their wor+s as an outlet for the spirit of carnival, of popular festivity and misrule. They Bsubvert2 the literary culture of the ruling classes, undermining its claim to moral monopoly. 4uch forms and genres are open and dialogic. They allow multiple points of view to co7e"ist #rather than wor+ing through a single dominating, monologic voice*, and are valued for their availability to Bplural2 interpretations. Closure The impression of completeness finality achieved by the ending of some literary wor+s, or parts of literary wor+s( Band they all lived happily ever after2. Kuring the latter half of the twentieth century critics have tended to prefer Bopen2 te"ts, which defy closure and refuse to leave the reader comfortably satisfied- and, by an e"tension of this predilection, it is argued that criticism itself should avoid closure, leaving the te"t available to multiple interpretations, and refuse to offer conclusive >udgments. 4ee also /eadable. Code 4tructuralism and 4emiotics have demonstrated that meaning is inherent in systems of signs shared by a group. These systems operate according to rules and conventions- however familiar the signs, the underlying rules that govern the system may be invisible to their users. In this respect, languages are li+e codes that re1uire deciphering. Reception. Theory and Practices 9@

%eferences 9iterature also functions according to rules, some obvious, some invisible, that operate between riter and reader, and the critic2s tas+ may be to e"plain or catalogue these rules, and decipher literature as if it was a code. Co!petence Enowledge of language is Bcompetence2( performance is its use. These terms were invented by the linguistic philosopher =oam Choms+y. They echo and e"tend the fundamental distinction between langue and parole enunciated by 4aussure. Critical theorists have borrowed Choms+y2s terms to suggest that readers must possess literary competence in order to understand the conventions of a narrative or poem. Criticis! The interpretation, analysis, classification, and ultimately >udgment of wor+s of literature, which has become a +ind of literary genre itself. ! broad division can be made between practical criticis!, which focuses on the e"amination of individual te"ts, and theoretical criticis!, which discusses the nature of literature, and the relationship between literature, the critic and society. ! similar distinction also e"ists between descriptive criticis!, which attempts to describe literature as it is #without reference to any over7riding linguistic, literary or social theory, and without trying to evaluate*, and prescriptive criticis!, which #sometimes unconsciously* argues how literature ought to be. The aims and conventions of literary criticism, li+e literature itself, have changed constantly through the ages, and there are many different types of literary approach. In an essay on the ?Orientation of Critical Theories@, the opening chapter of The Mirror and the Lamp #%&GS*, the contemporary critic M. . !brams e"plores the diversity of critical approach via a simple diagram of the elements involved( "#IV$%S$ & '(%) & A%*IS* A"DI$#C$ !brams e"plains that theories of art can be defined according to the way in which they tend to concentrate on any of the three variables at the corners of the triangle, the universe, the artist or the audience. Thus, a !i!etic theory of art sees the wor+ of art as reflecting the universe li+e a mirror( !ristotle, who defined art as imitation in his Loetics #fourth century ,C*, is the prime e"ample. a prag!atic theory of art sees the wor+ as a means to an end, to teach or instruct( the focus is changed to the wor+2s effect on an audience. expressive theories centre on the artist #nearly all /omantic and nineteenth century criticism generally regards art as primarily concerned with e"pressing the poet2s feelings, imagination, and personality. It tends to >udge the wor+ by its sincerity or the e"tent to which it has successfully revealed the authorCs state of mind*. The =ew Criticism of the twentieth century, and many of the other critical theories which followed it, dominated the study of literature in universities and schools until the %&56s. This may be termed o*+ective criticis!, which focuses chiefly on the te"t, the wor+ of art itself, and attempts to regard it as standing free from the poet, the audience and the world. Drom about %&G6 till %&56 Bcriticism2 tended to mean practical criticism. 9B Reception. Theory and Practices

%eferences 4ince the %&86s traditional understanding of the relationships between universe, writer, audience and te"t has been put into turmoil by the approaches to language +nown as structuralis! and deconstruction, which place in doubt any simple mimetic notion of language itself, and therefore literature- the security that words have meaning because they directly symbolise the things contained in the world outside #the universe* has been attac+ed. 9anguage has come to be seen as a framewor+ creating Btruth2 and Breality2, rather than simply describing things. The conse1uences of these ideas for literature and criticism have been wide7ranging. One result has been the proliferation of ,IT&R'R- TH&.R- as a sub>ect for study in its own right, usually concentrating on the theory of criticism rather than literature itself. !nother has been the shift away from the internal mechanisms of te"ts themselves in order to show them in the conte"t of society and politics, possibly by adopting /arxist or fe!inist critical perspectives. ,oth these approaches have attac+ed the concept of the cannon, the idea that literature should be composed of a collection of special and highly valued te"ts. The specific disciplines of narratology and reader#response criticis! have also grown out of the ferment caused by structuralism. (econstruction0 deconstructive criticis! ! blan+et title for certain radical critical theories that revise and develop the tenets of structuralist criticism. Many of the ideas of deconstruction originate in three boo+s by the Drench philosopher Mac1ues Kerrida, all of which were published in Drance in %&R8 and have been translated in Jnglish with the following titles( !peech and Phenomena #%&8S*, 3% 1rammatology #%&8R*, /riting and "i%%erence #%&85*. Kerrida believes that all notions of the e"istence of an absolute meaning in language #a transcendental signified* are wrong. e argues that even in speech, the idea that the spea+er might fully possess the significance of the spo+en words, if only for a moment, is unproven and a false assumption. Wet this assumption about speech and writing #where there is not even the consciousness of the spea+er to validate meaning* has dominated :estern thought, and it should be the aim of the philosopher and critic to Bdeconstruct2 the philosophy and literature of the past to show this false assumption and reveal the essential parado" at the heart of language. !s in structuralist analysis, Kerrida sees any individual statement as depending for its meaning on its relationship with its surrounding system of language( it can only derive its meaning by its difference #which he spells difference, which results in more than >ust ambiguity, which still deals with fi"ed, if various meanings. The dispersal of meaning, called dissemination, leads to the free play of interpretations* from all the other possible meanings, unlimited in number. =o more than the illusory effect of meaning is possible in contact with these unlimited different possible readings ( meaning does not reside in the signifier. Interpretation of meaning is then an endless movement that can never arrive at an absolute, ultimate signified. Thus the Bplay of signification2 is endless #Bplayful2 was a favourite approving word for criticism in the %&56s*. To Bdeconstruct2 a te"t is merely to show how te"ts deconstruct themselves because of this fundamental indeterminateness at the core of language. Keconstruction attac+s the very basis of :estern scholarship and thought. KerridaCs ideas have been ta+en up, developed and fiercely attac+ed, especially in !merica. ,ritish criticism, with its strong educational, pragmatic emphasis, is content to re7wor+ and e"plain ideas that originated in Drance and the 34!. The word Bdeconstruction2 is now often used merely to refer to the revelation of partially hidden meanings in a te"t, especially those that illuminate aspects of its relationship with its social and political conte"t, as is common in Mar"ist criticism. In its wea+est use, to deconstruct may mean no more than to reveal the way meaning in any +ind of te"t is a Bconstruction2 by the writer or Reception. Theory and Practices 9+

%eferences the reader, open to dissection by the critic, who also has to construct meaning - it has become another word for Banaly;e2 or Binterpret2. (ialogic Te"ts that allow the e"pression of a variety of points of view leaving the reader with open 1uestions are dialogic. The opposite +ind of te"t is monologic, dominated by a single way of perceiving things, usually presumed to be the author2s. It was a vogue word in the %&56s, borrowed from the writings of the /ussian critic Mi+hail ,a+htin. &piste!ology The philosophical theory of +nowledge, how it is ac1uired and of what it consists. It was a central concern of %5 th century empiricism. In the early %& th century, one aspect of romanticism was a turning away from the notion that writers should aspire towards e"pressing universal truths. Instead, individual e"perience and feeling came to be seen as the proper source of +nowledge. Her!eneutics #$+. Bscience of interpretation2* Originally a word applied to interpretation of the ,ible - now applied generally to the theory of how, to what e"tent and by what principles and procedures we can interpret literary or any te"ts. The =ew Criticism stressed the impossibility of e"amining a wor+ by reference to its writer2s intention #the intentional fallacy*, and the modern critical theories of structuralism and deconstruction e1ually deny the possibility of discovering a determinate reading of a te"t. ,y contrast, reception theory analyses the conditions that control te"tual interpretation. Horizon of expectations ! term from reception theory to describe the bac+ground networ+ of ideas, attitudes and conventions possessed by readers, and through which they perceive the ob>ect of their studies. !s such a hori;on is constantly changing, readers of different eras cannot avoid interpreting wor+s in radically different ways. Ideology #$+. Bdiscourse about or study of ideas2* The collection of ideas, opinions, values, beliefs and preconceptions which go to ma+e up the Bmind7set2 of a group of people, that is, the intellectual framewor+ through which they view everything, and which colours all their attitudes and feelings #especially, perhaps, assumptions about power and authority*. :hat we ta+e to be Breality2 is controlled by the ideologies of the era in which we live. I!plied author :ayne ,ooth in The Rhetoric o% Fiction #%&R%* defines the way in which every narrative creates a sense of a particular +ind of author, which the reader infers from hints and statements in the te"t. This Bsecond self2 is not the same as the author, but a product of a particular wor+( it may be 1uite different in different wor+s by the same author. =o novelist can escape this. Jven the novel in which no narrator is dramati;ed creates an implicit picture of an author, who stands behind the scenes, whether as stage manager, as puppeteer, or as an indifferent $od, silently paring his fingernails. :hen a novelist dramati;es him or herself as the narrator, this is still not the same as the implied author, who is the presumed arbiter of all the choices that ma+e up the wor+, the mouthpiece being >ust one of those options. I!plied reader 94 Reception. Theory and Practices

%eferences In his essay ?Of the 4tandard of Taste@ #%8)%*, ume describes an ideal reader, who attempts to forget his Bindividual being2 and Bpeculiar circumstance2 and consider himself as Ba man in general2 in order to rid himself of the distortions of pre>udice. /eader7response criticism argues that all te"ts construct by implication an imagined reader of which ume2s ideal is only one possibility. Other similar terms are Bsuper7reader2, Binformed reader2 and Bencoded reader2. In every te"t a variety of features will point towards the +ind of reader for which it is intended. These include the tone, assumptions about what a reader will and will not +now, difficulty or simplicity of argument, the diction, >argon, allusions, irony, and so on. Fery comple" and difficult te"ts Bconstruct2 or imply #or re1uire* readers with a high degree of literary competence, as well as intelligence, patience and perseverance, to the point where reading is an imaginative process not dissimilar to the creative act itself. I!pressionistic criticis! Criticism that concentrates on the critic2s personal response to a wor+ and attempts to reproduce these feelings in words, rather than to e"amine a literary wor+ in the light of some theory of literature. Much of the criticism of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was impressionistic. The =ew Criticism and Lractical Criticism sought to bring a more e"act rigour into the evaluation of response. Intentional fallacy The !merican =ew Critics :. E. :imsatt and M. C. ,eardsley introduced this term for what they regarded as the mista+en critical method of >udging a literary wor+ according to the author2s intentions, whether stated or implied. They argued that the value and meaning of each literary wor+ resides solely in the te"t itself, and any e"amination of presumed intention is merely irrelevant, distracting the critic towards the writer2s psychology or biography, rather than focusing on the use of language, imagery, tensions, and so on, within the freestanding literary artifice # The 8erbal #con, %&G)*. Interpretation It is the act of e"plaining the meaning and effects of a literary te"t. Ostensibly, one of the traditional aims of studying literature #or made so after literary history and te"tual scholarship were ousted by the =ew Criticism in ,ritain and the 34!*. Interpretation is now a ve"ed issue. :riters in the '6th century have often resented paraphrase, and argued that the meaning of a particular wor+ cannot be e"pressed with any e"actness in any way other than its own uni1ue combination of form and content in words. Interpretation, in so far as it arrives at no more than boiled down meanings, may seem to deprive the artwor+ of mystery and energy, and the desire to defy this loss lies behind movements in the arts from K!K! onwards. The worldwide professionalisation of literature teaching has lead to incessant interpretative acts being conducted on an ever7widening body of te"ts. 4ince the early %&86s the possibility of interpretation has been attac+ed in literary and linguistic theories #structuralism and deconstruction*, which argue that meaning is not ultimately inherent in language, and that te"ts are, in a philosophical sense, un+nowable. Intersu*+ective ! word sometimes used in the attempt to solve the problem of Bsub>ectivity2 versus Bob>ectivity2 of interpretation( ob>ectivity may be a human impossibility, in so far as we can only ever approach a te"t with our >udgment coloured by uni1ue personal Reception. Theory and Practices 97

%eferences e"perience. owever, a group of people sharing the same cultural bac+ground are very li+ely to agree about the interpretation or >udgment of a te"t. They will arrive at a shared response that may not be Bob>ective2, but will however be Bintersub>ective2, thereby escaping the lonely prison of self by pooling their sub>ectivities. Intertextuality 4tructuralism argues that a te"t is a system in which language does not refer to Breality2 but only to itself and the patterns created within the te"t. 9iterature as a whole is also perceived as a self7referential system or structure. Interte"tuality is a term invented by the Drench critic Mulia Eristeva to refer to the many and various +inds of relationship that e"ist between te"ts, such as adaptation, translation, imitation, allusion, plagiarism and parody. Jouissance ! word used by the Drench critic /oland ,arthes in Le Plaisir du texte #%&8S* in contrast to plaisir to describe different +inds of reading e"perience #it2s one of his sporadic attac+s on the tradition of realism*. Mouissance is often translated as Bbliss2, which suggests some of the sense of se"ual pleasure that the word has in Drench. 4uch a feeling is e"perienced when reading te"ts which force the reader into some +ind of creative, active participation in the act of interpretation. These difficult, thought7provo+ing te"ts ,arthes calls scriptible.writable.writerly. On the other hand, realist te"ts, that ma+e no demands on the reader, because of the familiarity of their conventional aspects, te"ts that can be read easily are lisible.readable.readerly, and only provo+e the less intense plaisir which is merely comforting, rather than stimulating. Deminists use the word to designate and celebrate the >oy of being female. ,iterariness !ccording to the theories of /ussian Dormalism literary te"ts are distinguished from non7literary te"ts by a variety of special linguistic devices and features, most of them deviations from ordinary usage, which result in defamiliari;ation #Bma+ing strange2 7 the capacity of some +inds of writing to strip away familiarity from the world about us, so that we see things anew. Kepartures from linguistic norms lead to the foregrounding of unusual features, which is common in literary language.*. The ob>ect of criticism is not literature itself, but Bliterariness2, and its purpose is the description and definition of all those features that ma+e a te"t literary rather than non7literary. ,iterary theory To elaborate a theory of literature is to see+ answers to fundamental 1uestions about the nature, purpose and value of literature, and how answers to these 1uestions can be ascertained. !s a special branch of literary critical discussion, literary theory has been intellectually fashionable and a source of vigorous dispute in Juropean and !merican universities, especially from the %&86s onwards. ,y %&&6, literary theory had been institutionali;ed, now being taught as an academic sub>ect in its own right. 4ome teachers of theory argue that it is impossible to read a te"t without a theoretical standpoint, a counterargument being that no literary theory can be properly e"amined and discussed without some prior +nowledge of te"ts. In the twentieth century certain critical movements have tended towards the current emphasis on theory( the /ussian formalists #formulating views of literary language that led away from the study of individual te"ts to defining Bliterariness2*, structuralists #also shifting interest away from individual te"ts on to the relationship between language and the world of things and the conditions by which meaning is understood or created*, mar"ists #interested in politics and sociology, ;? Reception. Theory and Practices

%eferences theorising about literature as a social institution, and its relationships with non7literary forms of artistic e"pression, and with the structures of power prevailing in society*. ,ogocentris! 9ogos in Christianity is e1uated with $od the 4on, the second person of the Trinity, and has a special force as a centre and origin of religious belief #4t. Mohn2s gospel begins with( BIn the beginning was the :ord2*. The philosophy of language called deconstruction regards :estern culture as essentially logocentric, that is, organi;ed around the belief or hope that there is meaning in language, and even some ultimate final meaning, such as $od or Truth, rather than the endless play of difference. 1e Criticis! ! ma>or critical movement of the %&S6s and %&)6s in !merica #Mohn Crowe /ansom, !len Tate, /. L. ,lac+mur, :. E. :imsatt, Cleanth ,roo+s, /obert Lenn :arren*. The autonomy of literature is a vital tenet of the new critics, who defined various wrongful ways of loo+ing at literature #the intentional and the affective fallacies *, the close reading of te"ts becoming the only legitimate critical procedure, seeing the wor+ as a linguistic structure in which all the parts are held in a tension of parado", irony and ambiguity , words, symbols and images. .*+ective criticis! ! term which can be applied to much of the criticism since the %&'6s, including the new critics, which e"amines the wor+ of literature as an autonomous creation, free from the poet, the reader and the world, for its intrinsic comple"ity, balance, pattern, coherence, in order to reveal the relationships between its parts, and not because it adds to our biographical +nowledge of the poet, our understanding of literary history, or any of its other e"trinsic features. .ver#reading The danger of ingeniously wor+ing subtleties of meaning out of a literary passage that do more credit to the critic2s capacity for fantasy or pedantry than common sense. The critical practice of deconstruction insists that the reader produces meanings that will always be indeterminate, and that there can be no fi"ed and absolute meaning in language( according to this view, over7reading is a theoretical impossibility. Pheno!enology ! phenomenon #$+. Bappearing2* is an ob>ect or occurrence perceived by the senses. Lhenomenology is the method of en1uiry promoted by the $erman philosopher J. usserl, which begins with the investigation of one2s own consciousness and intellectual processes. !ll prior conceptions, whether from philosophy or common sense, have to be laid aside in a suspension of all e"isting ideas about the nature of e"perience. Thus, even the Breality2 of the ob>ects of consciousness has to be held in doubt #Bbrac+eted2*. usserl2s views were developed by Merleau7Lonty in Drance and eidegger in $ermany. Lhenomenology has influenced several different approaches to literature, notably the $eneva 4chool of Criticism, /eader7/esponse Criticism and /eception Theory. Pluralis!0 pluralist0 plurality ! term much used in post7structuralist criticism to indicate the desirable openness of te"ts to many different interpretations that the insights of deconstruction allow. !s language has no verifiable and absolute meaning, no transcendental signified, Reception. Theory and Practices ;1

%eferences all te"ts are open to the play of innumerable meanings, rendering the search for meaning infinitely e"tendable and, it might be argued, therefore pointless, though deconstructionists continue to pursue their own +inds of meaning in te"ts. Post!odernis! ! vague term but much in vogue in the %&56s, and of disputed meaning and value, not least because it refers both to intellectual concepts and to style. Cultural philosophers involve themselves in arguments of bewildering abstraction about the nature of the Bpostmodern condition2, while a fashion writer may bree;ily refer to a pair of shoes as Bpostmodern2. Modernism bro+e with the artistic traditions and conventions that had prevailed for many centuries. ,ut, in time, the e"periments of modernism itself came to loo+ familiar and even conventional, and often to endorse very traditional attitudes to society under the guise of e"perimental forms. 4ome contemporary artists have gone bac+ to pre7modernist writings and reshaped them in new ways #witty and clever magpie borrowings of former styles are a characteristic of postmodernist style, ma+ing a statement about pluralism, tolerance and eclecticism, as well as revealing limitations in the assumptions inherent in former literary conventions and methods*. 4ome literature is postmodern in this sense of +nowingly ma+ing use of methods and techni1ues of former ages in the spirit of serious pastiche. =ovels li+e Mohn ,arth2s 1iles 1oat0:oy #%&RR*, written in the form and style of an eighteenth7century wor+, predated the invention of the term Bpostmodern2. Mohn Dowles2s The French Lieutenant.s /oman #%&R&* self7consciously recreates aspects of %5 th century novel, mi"ed with e"periments #a double, indeterminate ending*, and authorial intervention. Magic realism creates bewildering mi"tures of the plausible and the impossible. 4alman /ushdie2s Midnight.s Children #%&5%* gives the same status to the historical and the whimsically fantastic. One conclusion inherent in this intersection of different literary styles and modes is the insight common to many strands of post7structuralism, that meaning is neither inherent in language, nor in the world of things, but is Bconstructed2 by conventional framewor+s of thought and language. Jven our most cherished concepts, such as individuality, human character, freedom, are sub>ect to the dissolving perspective that far from being universal truths, they are constructs of a particular culture and time, and therefore have no absolute authenticity. !ccording to the philosophy of deconstruction, language itself is doomed to perpetual non7meaning in the endless play of difference. This challenge to meaning as well as social and political factors #the persistence of war, the constant possibility of nuclear holocaust, a new sense of the despoiling of the environment and the planet* have all combined to create a sense of despair and disillusion. In the face of meaninglessness we can only play with styles and values that used to have meaning. In this respect, postmodernist style shares and e"tends aspects of the modernist movement called Bthe absurd2. Lostmodern te"ts are often organi;ed to reveal the instability of language, and to show the reader how particular meanings and values are temporary and self7 generated constructions. Mudgment may be suspended, for e"ample, between multiple narrative possibilities. In capitalist society the multiplicity of images and signs, now e1ually perceived as disconnected and empty of meaning, in ads, television and other media, adds to a sense of being bombarded with reminders of our inauthenticity. The new disciplines of cultural and media studies have analy;ed these phenomena from poststructuralist perspectives. Many intellectuals re>oice in the freedom of interpretation that postmodernist ideas allow, particularly the promise of pluralism. The distinctions between Bhigh2 and Blow2 art have been thrown aside, allowing graffiti to be e"amined with the same scrupulosity as Eing ;5 Reception. Theory and Practices

%eferences 9ear since both are cultural and social constructs and may be e1ually revealing about the nature of meaning and the political and cultural realities of our e"istence, or about the nature of non7meaning and inauthenticity. !s a means of re7e"amining the nature and history of present7day capitalist and consumerist society in terms of poststructuralist attitudes to meaning, the concept of Bpostmodernism2 has been defined and redefined by cultural historians and political philosophers such as Mean7Drancois 9yotard in The Postmodern Condition #%&5R* and Drederic Mameson in essays li+e ?Lostmodernism, or the Cultural 9ogic of 9ate Capitalism@ #%&5)*. Post#structuralis! ! term covering the bundle of different approaches to language and literature #and other fields* which share the common feature of building and refining the attitudes to +nowledge and culture initiated by the linguistic theories of 4aussure, which led to the development of the networ+ of ideas called structuralism. ! basic and shared tenet is that meaning is not inherent in words, but depends on their mutual relationships within the system of language, a system that is based on difference. The single most significant poststructuralist development is the linguistic philosophy developed in the %&86s and the %&56s in Drance, chiefly by Mac1ues Kerrida, called deconstruction, which has strongly influenced literary and critical theory. Prag!atic criticis! BLragmatic2 may be applied to those +inds of criticism that see literature as designed to achieve effects on its audience #instruction, aesthetic pleasure, etc.* and >udge it according to the successful achievement of this assumed aim. Reada*le 3sually a term of praise for a boo+, suggesting willingness and delight on the part of the reader. owever, amongst adherents of the criticism of /oland ,arthes it has a special meaning( a readable.readerly te"t te"t is one that is easily and worthlessly assimilated, because it reflects a conventional and anodyne ideology that does not stimulate the reader. Reader#Response criticis! ! general label for a number of different literary approaches and theories common in the %&56s that share a focus on the active relationship of the reader with a te"t. !spects of psychoanalytic criticism and structuralism can be assimilated here, in so far as they consider the reader2s role in interpreting literature. :hat is shared among these different approaches is a re>ection of the assumptions of the new critics about the autonomy of the te"t, and the fi"ity and Bob>ectivity2 of evaluation and meaning. /ather they see the meaning of a te"t as Bcreated2 or Bproduced2 by readers, and therefore as an unstable or changeable entity. The many e"ponents of reader7response criticism differ in the emphasis that they place on aspects of the reading process, and in the degree to which they allow any Bob>ectivity2 in an interpretation of a te"t( is it possible, for e"ample, to prove that a reading is wrongA The $erman critic :olfgang Iser #The $ct o% Reading, %&85* e"amines the writer2s control of the reader2s responses particularly in terms of the Bindeterminate elements2 in te"ts, the gaps and absences which the reader must fill in, a process of anticipation, guesswor+, creation, frustration and reconstruction. In the 34! 4tanley Dish has developed a close e"amination of developing reader7response which he calls Baffective stylistics2. e also e"amines the nature of Bmista+es2 critics have made in dealing with te"ts to suggest that different reading strategies are adopted by different Binterpretive communities2, and that no single reading can be authoritative # #s there a Text in This Class;, %&56*. Reception. Theory and Practices ;9

%eferences Reception theory ! specific branch of reader7response criticism developed by ans /obert Mauss, that focuses on the changing history of the reaction to te"ts by readers #B9iterary istory as a Challenge to 9iterary Theory2, %&R8*. /eaders bring to the te"t the Baesthetic hori;on2 of their time N a collection of e"pectations, pre>udices and tolerances, that is constantly shifting and evolving, not least because it encompasses and absorbs into itself the tradition of interpretations that build up in relation to a particular te"t, and become a part of its meaning. There is no fi"ed value or meaning in te"ts, but only that which is produced by the Bdialogue2 between the hori;ons of different generations of readers and the te"t. Rhetorical criticis! ! ter sometimes used for the wor+ of critics of the %&R6s and %&86s who analy;ed literature in terms of the many authorial devices used by the narrator to develop a particular relationship with the reader. The !merican :ayne ,ooth2s study of the novel, The Rhetoric o% Fiction #%&R%*, was a seminal study of this +ind. "toc2 response 3nthin+ing and uncritical response to a wor+ of art- usually used in a pe>orative sense to label a crude reaction unilluminated by sensitivity, intelligence or understanding. "tructuralis!0 structuralist criticis! It e"amines aspects of human society, including language, literature and social institutions, as integrated structures or systems in which the parts have no real e"istence on their own, but only derive meaning and significance from their place within the system. 4tructuralist critics often e"plore individual wor+s of literature by analy;ing them in terms of linguistic concepts and concentrate on e"amining the conventions and e"pectations which a +nowledgeable reader understands implicitly when reading the wor+ #literary competence*. Certain aspects of structuralist thought run counter to ordinary notions about the relationship between language, the writer and the reader. :riting #Xcriture* is conceived as an activity governed solely by its own codes and conventions, and these have no reference to any reality beyond or outside the system. Many structuralists, particularly ,arthes, deny that there is any communication between author and reader( the persona pro>ected by the writer is merely a literary construction, and reading itself is merely an impersonal Bma+ing sense2 of the literary conventions within the system. "u*+ective Often used in contrast to Bob>ective2 to distinguish two methods of perception, meaning the private and personal point of view, as opposed to the e"plicit, verifiable and agreed ob>ective treatement of things. The sub>ective is the inner, biased, visionary world, rather than the outer Breal2 world. Farious critics, notably /. 9angbaum in The Poetry o% <xperience #%&G8*, have argued that such a distinction is an oversimplification of the way literature apprehends the world, and that all writing, whatever its appearance, is neither simply ob>ective nor sub>ective, but is in fact a meeting point between the outer and the inner worlds. "y!pathy Often used in literary discussion to e"press the reader2s feelings towards a character in a boo+( a writer may be said to manipulate the reader2s sympathies by the depiction of a good or bad character. ;; Reception. Theory and Practices

%eferences Weltanschauung ! philosophical view of the world, perhaps e"pressed by a single writer, or typical of a whole period. 3eitgeist The spirit or intellectual atmosphere of an age or period. %eferences !nghelescu Irimia, M. "ialoguri Postmoderne, Jd. DundaYiei Culturale /omZne, ,ucure[ti, %&&& ,arthes, /. ?The Keath of the !uthor@ in Lhilip /ice and Latricia :augh #eds* Modern Literary Theory, O3L, %&5& ,roo+er, L. #ed.*, Modernism=Postmodernism, 9ongman, 9ondon and =ew Wor+, %&&' Cuddon, M. !., "ictionary o% Literary Terms, Lenguin ,oo+s, 9ondon, %&5' Cunningham, F. #n the Reading 1aol 6 postmodernity+ texts+ and history , Jd. ,lac+well, O"ford 3E P Cambridge 34!, %&&) Dederman, /. Ta,e #t or Leave #t, =ew Wor+, Diction Collective, %&8R Doucault, M. B:hat is an authorA2, in Kavid 9odge #ed.*, Modern Criticism and Theory, 9ongman, =ew Wor+, %&&5, pp.%&R7'%6 Doucault, M. ?The Order of Kiscourse@, in Lhilip /ice and Latricia :augh #eds* Modern Literary Theory, O3L, %&5& Dowles, M. #ubita locotenentului %rance*, Jd. 3nivers, ,ucure[ti, %&&) Dowles, M. Mantissa, ,oston, 9ittle ,rown, %&5' arrison, ,. B/hetoric and the 4elf2, \n #nconvenient Fictions) Literature and the Limits o% Theory , Wale 3niversity Lress, =ew aven and 9ondon, %&&% Mefferson, !., K. /obey #eds.*, Modern Literary Theory, ,. T. ,atsford 9td., 9ondon, %&55 9odge, K. $%ter :a,htin) <ssays on Fiction and Criticism, /outledge, 9ondon, %&&6 9odge, K. The $rt o% Fiction, Lenguin ,oo+s, Jngland, %&&' Mavrodin, I. Poietic> ?i Poetic>, Jd. 4crisul /omZnesc, Craiova, %&&5 McJvan, =. The !urvival o% the Novel) :ritish Fiction in the Later T entieth Century , MacMillan Lress, %&5% Mc ale, ,. Postmodernist Fiction, /outledge, 9ondon and =ew Wor+, %&58 Lapadima, 9. Literatur> ?i Comunicare) Rela@ia autor 6 cititor An pro*a pa?optist> ?i postpa?optist> , Jd. Lolirom, ,ucure[ti, %&&& Larrinder, L. $uthors B $uthority5 <nglish and $merican Criticism CDEF0CGGF , MacMillan, 9ondon, %&&% Lease J., K. ?!uthor@, in Dran+ 9entricchia and Thomas Mc9aughlin #eds.*, Critical Terms %or Literary !tudy , The 3niversity of Chicago Lress, 34!, %&&G, pp.%6G7%%R 4elden, /., L. :iddowson #eds.*, $ Reader.s 1uide to Contemporary Literary Theory , arvester7:heatsheaf, ertfordshire, %&&S Reception. Theory and Practices ;@

%eferences 4imion, J. Fic@iunea jurnalului intim, vol. I, ?J"ist] o poetic] a >urnaluluiA@, Jd. 3nivers Jnciclopedic, ,ucure[ti, '66% 4imion, J. Hntoarcerea autorului) <seuri despre rela@ia creator 6 oper> , ,iblioteca pentru toYi, Jd. Minerva, ,ucure[ti, %&&S 4u+enic+, /. BThe Keath of the =ovel2, in The "eath o% the Novel and 3ther !tories, =ew Wor+, The Kial Lress, %&R& 4u+enic+, /. BThirteen digressions2, \n #n Form5 "igressions on the $ct o% Fiction , Carbondale and Jdwardsville, 4outhern Illinois 3niversity Lress, %&5G 4u+enic+, /. 3ut, Chicago, 4wallow Lress, %&8S Fianu, 9. ?!t the $ates of Commonsense@, in :ritish "esperadoes at the Turn o% the Millennium , Jd. !ll, ,ucure[ti, %&&& Fonnegut, E. !laughterhouse0Five, =ew Wor+, Kell, %&8% :imsatt, :., M. ,eardsley, ?The Intentional Dallacy. The !ffective Dallacy@, in Kavid 9odge #ed.*, IFth Century Literary Criticism 6 $ Reader, 9ongman, 9ondon, %&8'. Jib/io!raphy ,ahtin, M. Probleme de literatur> ?i estetic>, ,ucure[ti( 3nivers, %&5'. ,arthes, /. Jntying the Text5 $ Post0!tructuralist Reader, 9ondon( /outledge, %&5% ,ellinger, 9. Les methodes de lecture, Laris ( Lresses universitaires de Drance, %&5& Corbea, !. "espre -teme.) <xplor>ri An dimensiunea antropologic> a literarit>@ii , Ia[i( Jd. 3niversit]Yii ?!l. I. Cu;a@, %&&G Corbea, !. ?92estheti1ue de la reception comme theorie du dialogue@, in Cahiers roumains d.etudes litteraires , nr.S. %&5R Cornea, L. ?Drom /eader2s Diction to the /eality of /eading@, in Cahiers roumains d.etudes litteraires, nr.S.%&5R Cornea, L. #ntroducere An teoria lecturii, Ia[i( Lolirom, %&&5 Corti, M. Principiile comunic>rii literare, ,ucure[ti( 3nivers, %&5% Kima 4. Lectura literar> 6 un model situa@ional, Ia[i( !rs 9onga, '666 Kucrot, O. and M.M. 4chaeffer. Noul "ic@ionar al Ktiin@elor Limbajului, ,ucure[ti( ,abel, %&&R Jco, 3. Lector in %abula, ,ucure[ti( 3nivers, %&&% Dish, 4. B#s There a Text in this Class;. in The $uthority o% #nterpretive Communities, Cambridge, %&56 Do++ema, K. and :. Literary 9istory+ Modernism and Postmodernism, !msterdamPLhiladelphia, %&5) $reen E. and Mill 9e,ihan. Critical Theory and Practice) $ Courseboo,, =ew Wor+P9ondon( /outledge, %&&R olub, /. Reception Theory) $ Critical #ntroduction, 9ondonP=ew Wor+, %&5) Mauss, . /. <xperien@a estetic> ?i hermeneutica literar>, ,ucure[ti( 3nivers, %&5S Mefferson, !. and Kavid /obey #eds.*. Modern Literary Theory, 9ondon( /outledge, %&5R ;B Reception. Theory and Practices

%eferences 9eenhard, M. ?9es instances de la compXtence dans l2activitX lectrice@ in $cres du collo2ue de Reims) La lecture littLraire, Laris, %&5) 9odge, K. #ed.*. Modern Criticism and Theory, =ew Wor+, %&55

Reception. Theory and Practices