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Reader-Response Criticism

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Kasey Bailey

on 7 October 2013

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Transcript of Reader-Response Criticism

Reader-Response Criticism
What is the Reader-Response Criticism?
Reader-response critics believe a literary work is not complete until someone reads and interprets it.
emphasizes the role of the reader in the writer-text-reader transaction.
Dos and Don'ts
Pros and Cons
History: Started in America and Germany, Work by Norman Holland, Stanley Fish, Wolfgang Iser.
Application: Iambs for the Day of Burial
Does the sounds/shapes of the words as they appear on the page or how they are spoken by the reader enhance or change the meaning of the word/work?
Encourages discussions and analysis of text based on reader’s thoughts and experiences.
Readers and audiences must think for themselves instead of being told what the interpretation is and accepting it with out a second thought.
Makes literary criticism a continuous process and stops it from being just a static relationship between the text and it’s “absolute truth”
Creates diversity and a difference of opinions, allowing readers to see different views of a text
Different lives, ways of thinking, experiences, viewpoints and arguments come together to determine the many realities that make up a literary work of art.
o Allows for any interpretation of a text to be considered valid and devalues the content of the text.
o Some argue that the text is being ignored completely.
o Some argue that it’s impossible to properly interpret a text with out taking into consideration the culture or era in which it is written.
o Some argue that it does not allow for the reader’s knowledge and experience to be expanded by the text at all.

View a text openly
Consider your own opinions towards the text
Interpret the text in any way you choose
Consider your reaction to what you read in the text
View the text through someone else's perspective
Consider what meaning the author may have been trying to portray
Individualists: those who focus on the individual reader's experience
Experimenters: take into consideration the state of mind of the reader and how it influences the way they view a text
Uniformists: believe that each text has its own "effect on readers causing them to view the text in essentially the same way
Rhythm sounds like a heart beat
relates the pulse to stressed and unstressed syllables
poetry has our very life force within it
places stress differently to emphasize certain words
Typical Questions to ask oneself
•How does the interaction of text and reader create meaning?
•What does a phrase-by-phrase analysis of a short literary text, or a key portion of a longer text, tell us about the reading experience prestructured by (built into) that text?
•Do the sounds/shapes of the words as they appear on the page or how they are spoken by the reader enhance or change the meaning of the word/work?
•How might we interpret a literary text to show that the reader's response is, or is analogous to, the topic of the story?
•What does the body of criticism published about a literary text suggest about the critics who interpreted that text and/or about the reading experience produced by that text?

• Louise Rosenblatt
o Every act of reading involved a “transaction” of reader and text, both are essential. “A poem is lifeless without a reader who is active.”
o Active readers create multiple readings of the same text, no reading is uniquely “correct.”
o Rosenblatt was the recipient of numerous awards: NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English), Distinguished Service, International Reading Association Hall of Fame, John Dewey Society Lifetime Achievement.

credited with formally introducing the idea that the reader’s experience and interaction with the text creates the true meaning
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