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AP English 11

"Readerly" vs. "Writerly" texts

Becky Brown

on 28 August 2018

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Transcript of AP English 11

Roland Barthe (1915-1980)
French literary theorist, philosopher
and critic.

"Readerly" text
A text that makes no requirement of the reader to "write" or "produce" their own meanings. The reader may passively locate "ready-made" meaning. Within this category, there is a spectrum of "replete literature," which comprises "any classic (readerly) texts" that work "like a cupboard where meanings are shelved, stacked, [and] safeguarded" (200).
"Writerly" text
A text that aspires to the proper goal of literature and criticism: "... to make the reader no longer a consumer but a producer of the text" (4). Writerly texts and ways of reading constitute, in short, an active rather than passive way of interacting with a culture and its texts. Thus reading becomes for Barthes "not a parasitical act, the reactive complement of a writing," but rather a "form of work" (10).
Re-read and annotate the Toni Morrison essay "Unspeakable Things Unspoken": The Afro-American Presence in American Literature." This time, question the text. Look for moments that confuse you or make you want to inquire further. Find at least three passages that intrigue you, ask questions in the margins, and be ready to bring your questions back to class on Thursday.

DUE: Thursday, August 30
Nabokov Says.../We Say...
Read right.
Write right.
With your partner, create a poster that includes:
1) A quote from the Nabokov text,
2) Your smart, well-crafted response--either adding to, qualifying, or disagreeing with his claim.
3) Images that enhance the ideas in your poster.
Practice Journal Update
Make sure you include all assignments, feedback, and due dates to your table of contents.
Practicing Revision
After annotating, what do you notice about how Eggers' tone, style, and/or word choice affects the reader's understanding of the text?
Fahrenheit 451
: Close Reading Practice

1) Find one passage from
Fahrenheit 451
you'd like to discuss with your group.
2) Write the passage word-for-word at the top of your reading journal page.
3) Now, you'll share your passage with the group, engaging in a silent discussion through annotation.
4) Finally, in light of your discussion, write a sentence or two responding to the following question:

What do you notice about how Bradbury's tone, style, and/or word choice affects the reader's understanding of the text?
Quick Write:
Make two lists, one entitled "Good Readers," and the other entitled "Good Writers."
Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977)
Russian-American novelist, lepidopterist, and composer of chess problems
Taught Russian and literary criticism at Wellesly college
Major Works:
Pale Fire
I heart Vlad because...
Today's Takeaways:
What's one thing you learned today? What's one thing you'd like to keep thinking about?
Full transcript