We will show how Fish's theory defeats itself by applying it to a curious fragment from Marguerite Yourcenar's Mémoires d'Hadrien, a long, imagined meditation from the dying Roman emperor Hadrian. In the original French, Yourcenar writes,
La chair elle-même, cet instrument de muscles, de sang, et d’épiderme, ce rouge nuage dont l’âme est l’éclair.
It is possible to provide a word-for-word translation with no loss of specificity:
... middle of paper ...
...through a simple misunderstanding extract such a thing as an incorrect meaning from a text. Hence we have found Fish's “disappearing” text, a thing apart from the reader. Secondly, we have used different understandings of a text to synthetically create two antagonistic interpretive communities which we have been able to judge absolutely. The feasibility of this judgment refutes Fish's argument that literary criticism should be confined to creating and grouping interpretations, but not judging them. In effect, we have shown that the tools of executive Reader Response Criticism allow us to judge the interpretive communities created by the epistemological Reader Response Theory. We have not proven that either aspect of the theory is unviable, but we have discovered that Reader Response Theory is an incoherent whole, unable to accommodate its overreaching constituents.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- When an audience reads a piece of literature, the author is often not over their shoulder interpreting the text as he or she meant it to come across. The readers are usually equipped with their own previous knowledge, as well as society biases based on his or her previous life experiences. Solely from the use of these tools, as well as the reader’s vocabulary, will a reader interpret the words in front of him or her. Reader Response Criticism argues this very point. The point of any piece should be subjective, as in, it should give everyone the right to explore their own interpretations rather than seek ones that some other nameless face has published.... [tags: Poetry Analysis]
710 words (2 pages)
- Reader Response Criticism to God's Determinations For the reader demanding either rational sense or aesthetic pleasure from poetry, reading the preface to Edward Taylor's "God's Determinations" is humbling in ways unintended by the 17th century Puritan minister and poet. "Rationality" per se seems rejected at the start, where we are asked first to comprehend "Infinity," and then to envision it (everything) "beholding" "all things"(also everything). "Things" get no clearer as we progress, as we find whatever "infinity" "beholds" in not everything but "nothing," and that "nothing" itself to become the building material for "all." Identifying the paradox, perhaps, as that which begins t... [tags: God's Determinations Essays]
623 words (1.8 pages)
- How I Learned to Drive is the story of Li’l Bit’s teenage life. The 17 year old Li'l Bit functions as the narrator of the story, following her life between 11 and 17 years old. The story mostly revolves around Li’l Bit and Uncle Peck, the man who molests and sexualizes Li’l Bit throughout the story. The story makes the story itself into a story as a result of the narratorial and dissociative structure. The life of Li’l Bit, and even her description of events that are close to her in the present, is structured like a play and her running commentary is filled with humor, satire, etc (like she is a comedian making a joke in poor taste).... [tags: Li'l Bit, uncle peck, christianity]
1427 words (4.1 pages)
- Reader Response Criticism to Camus’ The Stranger (The Outsider) In The Stranger (The Outsider), Albert Camus anticipates an active reader that will react to his text. He wants the reader to form a changing, dynamic opinion of Meursault. The reader can create a consciousness for Meursault from the facts that Meursault reports. By using vague and ambiguous language, Camus stimulates the reader to explore all possibilities of meaning. Camus also intends to shock the reader into rereading passages.... [tags: Camus Stranger Essays]
2242 words (6.4 pages)
- A Subjective Reader-Response Criticism of James Joyce’s Eveline The subjectivity evident in literary interpretation is hard to deny. Though one person may feel that James Joyce’s writing proves Joyce’s support of the feminist movement, another may believe that Joyce views women as inferior. What could account for such a difference in opinions. Schwarz explains that subjective reader-response critics would respond to a question such as this by answering that each reader uses the literary work to symbolize his or her own life and, therefore, each response is unique to the individual reader.... [tags: Dubliners Essays]
2400 words (6.9 pages)
- Imagine the Mayans were right about the “Apocalypse” that is soon to convert this entire planet to smoldering ash. Tsunamis and earthquakes combine into a 200 ft. 10 point Kraken, swallowing buildings, plunging them into the crushing darkness. Forest fires ignite from the sparks of broken telephone poles then are spread through the continents by the clusters of hurricanes coming from each hemisphere. Tornados soon join the devastation, creating a pyrographic megastorm, flames engulfing our world resembling the first ten minutes of “T2: Judgment Day.” The aftermath looks like the Beelzebub himself just popped out just to say, “Doubt me now!?” After all the chaos and destruction, few survivors... [tags: critique, type of reader, Edgar Allan Poe]
1220 words (3.5 pages)
- Narrative “New Literary” Criticism A good novel is hard to put down. The story in the novel is perfect with a great plot, convincing characters, and a suspenseful build up to the climax. You have been drawn into the story and it is almost like you are there, living along side the characters. You understand their background, their trials, and their joys. The story brings to life something from long ago that may or may not be fictional. It is hard to tell without doing further research. In reality, that further research does not mean much to you at the present moment.... [tags: Literature Criticism]
1719 words (4.9 pages)
- Reader-Response to The Masque of the Red Death Some major concepts of reader-response criticism, as discussed by Ross Murfin in The Scarlet Letter: Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism, are these: (1) reading is a temporal process in which the reader lives through the experience of the text and (2) the experience that the reader undergoes may mirror the subject of the story. One reader's experience of "The Masque of the Red Death" by Edgar Allan Poe can exemplify these two concepts.... [tags: Mask Masque Red Death Essays]
864 words (2.5 pages)
- Modernism and New Criticism The ways in which we define the importance of texts is constantly changing. We can look back and see critical theories used, such as Historical Criticism, Reader-Response Criticism and Psychoanalytic Criticism. Each of these theories offers a different way to interpret a text. However, when looking back over the texts of a specific era, shouldn’t the type of criticism we used for a book be based on that time period. Defining the Modernist Era of literature seems almost impossible, since the definition of modernism often seems to constitute anything from being “new and common” to “new and uncommon” (Barzun).... [tags: Modernism New Criticism Literature Essays]
2988 words (8.5 pages)
- The Reader In the academic study of literature very little attention has been paid to the ordinary reader, the subjective individual who reads a particular text. David S. Miall and Don Kuiken, in their paper The form of reading: Empirical studies of literariness state, Almost no professional attention is being paid to the ordinary reader, who continues to read for the pleasure of understanding the world of the text rather than for the development of a deconstructive or historicist perspective.... [tags: Literature Literary Text Papers]
4064 words (11.6 pages)