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Re: [John_Lit] Readers once more

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  • John N. Lupia
    Horace Jeffery Hodges et alia: As I mentioned earlier I had been off list for several weeks and have not caught up with the plethora of postings. However,
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 4, 2001
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      Horace Jeffery Hodges et alia:

      As I mentioned earlier I had been off list for several weeks and
      have not caught up with the plethora of postings. However, Jeff, I
      found you started a thread that persists to this day regarding
      reception theory.

      I don't know if any of the following helps but it is my concise and
      incomplete survey on the subject that shows Prince in context.

      Reception theory or as it is more popularly now called
      Reader-Response Criticism, the study of the readers role in the
      text grew out of the New Criticism, a critical theory of literature
      analysis that emerged in the 1920's led by I. A. Richards
      (1893-1979), William Empson (1906-1984), and Cleanth Brooks
      (1906-198), based on the theory of the Russian and Czech
      theorists of the formalist critical view.

      "Decontextualization", term coined by the Russian psychologist,
      Lev Semenovich Vygotsky (1896-1934) wherein the reader
      makes the text part of the culture. Readers decontextualize an
      idea and recontextualize it as a product attribute, so that the birth
      of Jesus becomes identified with the St. Matthew's "Star of
      Bethlehem", or the Passion of Christ becomes identified with St.
      John's "Ecce Homo".

      Reception theory was first formaly proposed by Roman Ingarden
      (1931) The Literary Work of Art, that focused on how the reader
      puts the text together by filling in its indeterminancies.

      William Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley, "Intentional Fallacy" in
      The Verbal Icon: Studies in the Meaning of Poetry (Lexington:
      University of Kentucky Press, 1954), 194.

      They developed the idea of an "agnostic reader" who could never
      know the psychological processes of the author since they are
      inaccessible to the interpreter. We cannot know the mind of the
      author and have only their text . Therefore, it is the text that
      should be examined, not the author. They assert that "the
      design or intention of the author is neither available nor
      desirable as a standard for judging the success of a work of
      literary art." "The poem is not the critic's own and not the author's
      (it is detached from the author at birth and goes about the world
      beyond his power to intend about it or control it). The poem
      belongs to the public"

      New Critics, Wimsatt & Beardsley are interested in
      historio-critical methods since they reconstruct the historical
      context in which the verbal context was first spoken to distinguish
      it from how it now stands.

      Epistemic rhetoric, a term coined by Robert Scott (1967) "On
      Viewing Rhetoric as Epistemic" Central States Speech Journal,
      18: 9-17, put forth the rhetorical theory that the truth conveyed in
      the text is not found a priori outside of it nor within the speaker
      but through the dialogue between the writer and the reader.
      Scott's view coincides with that of Fish.

      Deconstruction, a branch of literary theory, developed about
      1970, demonstrates the contradictions in structuralists
      principles of textual analysis. This approach was developed
      primarily by Jacques Derrida. This method begins with isolating
      a structural relationship and identifying the priorities that give it
      its center. Deconstruction reverses the expected priorities to
      show the basis of the opposition is questionable forcing the
      reader to rethink their validity as well as all binary contrastive
      analyses.

      Jacques Derrida, 'Discussion.' The Structuralist Controversy:
      The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man. Ed.
      Richard Macksey & Eugenio Donato. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins
      UP, 1970. 265-272.

      Jacques Derrida:
      http://www.hydra.umn.edu/derrida/

      Roland Barthes (1973) The Pleasure of the Text, focused on the
      personal sensations of the reader. In his work, Image, Music,
      Text (NY, 1977) he presents a post-structuralist view with the
      famous line: "The text is a tissue of quotationsdrawn from the
      innumerable centers of culture" quoted by all in the know
      academes. Barthes developed the concept of the competant
      reader or the "encoded implicit reader", i.e., what assumptions
      are implicitly assumed on the part of the reader to comprehend
      the text.

      Gerald Prince, A grammar of stories; an introduction, (The
      Hague, Mouton, 1973) developed his concepts of what we now
      know as narratology (Narratology : the form and functioning of
      narrative, Berlin ; New York : Mouton, 1982).

      Wolfgang Iser Der implizite Leser. Kommunikationsformen des
      Romans von Bunyan bis Beckett. Theorie und Geschichte der
      Literatur und der schönen Künste. Texte und Abhandlungen, Bd.
      31. Uni-Taschenbucher; 163. Munich: Fink, 1972; (1978) The Act
      of Reading, focused on the reader's familiarity with the literary
      techniques and conventions of the text echoing Barthes'
      "encoded implicit reader".

      "The convergence of text and reader brings the literary work into
      existence."
      Wofgang Iser, "The Reading Proscess: A Phenomenological
      Approach," in Reader Response Criticism, ed. Jane P.
      Tompkins (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980),
      50.


      Wolfgang Iser and Sanford Budick, The Translatability of
      Cultures: Figurations of the Space Between. Irvine Studies in the
      Humanities. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press 1996.

      "Deconstruction: A Trialogue in Jerusalem." Mishkenot
      Sha'ananim Newsletter [Jerusalem] (December 1986), 7: 1-7.
      Wolfgang Iser, Jacques Derrida and Geoffrey Hartman. Abridged
      and edited version of a trialogue that took place in August 1986.

      Whereas, Stanley Fish (b. 1938) focused on what the text means
      to you.

      Prince's theory:

      1) the ideal reader (the perfectly insightful reader),
      2)the virtual reader (the reader in the author's mind),
      3) the actual reader (the reader who happens to be reading the
      text)
      4) the narratee (the reader addressed by the narrator).

      Nos. 2 & 4 are redundant. since formal and informal address in
      this sense are equivalents.

      Other models include but are not limited to:

      (1) the empirical reader, every reader of the text spanning time
      and culture.
      (2) "encoded implicit reader" cited in the text with the phrase "you
      yourselves".
      (3) "encoded explicit reader"

      Cordially in Christ,
      John
      <><
    • Horace Jeffery Hodges
      Ross, my skepticism about memory concerns the claim made that in ancient oral culture, listeners could recall an entire, lengthy discourse word for word after
      Message 2 of 6 , Dec 4, 2001
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        Ross, my skepticism about memory concerns the claim
        made that in ancient oral culture, listeners could
        recall an entire, lengthy discourse word for word
        after hearing only one time. I find this unlikely
        because it would mean flawlessly and rapidly (in real
        time) transferring items of information from very
        limited short-term memories to long-term memories. I
        would need to see some evidence for this as a common
        ability in antiquity.

        Some people may have special gifts -- Isaac Asimov
        could (reportedly) read a document quickly and retain
        it word for word in his long-term memory. There may be
        individuals who have this gift for aural information.

        I also accept that the ancients may have developed the
        capacity of their short-term memories in ways that we
        don't -- or may have had greater rates of information
        transfer into long-term memory than we do.

        They may also have had special memory techniques --
        mnemonic devices and such -- that enabled them to
        retain word for word what they were hearing if they
        needed to.

        But for any and/or all of this, I need more evidence
        than a "wry smile." ;.)

        John, you have provided a wealth of information and
        bibliography. I wish that I had your familiarity with
        these details.

        I just want to raise a point, and perhaps someone more
        informed than I can respond. You state:

        > Reception theory or as it is more popularly now
        > called Reader-Response Criticism, the study of the
        > readers role in the text grew out of the New
        > Criticism, a critical theory of literature analysis
        > that emerged in the 1920's led by I. A. Richards
        > (1893-1979), William Empson (1906-1984), and Cleanth
        > Brooks (1906-198), based on the theory of the
        Russian
        > and Czech theorists of the formalist critical view.

        My understanding is that New Criticism was an
        independent lit-crit development that borrowed from
        Russian Formalism but was not actually based upon it.
        Also, it appears -- even from your post -- that
        Reception Theory developed by drawing upon many
        sources, of which, New Criticism was merely one.

        Jeffery Hodges

        =====
        Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
        Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
        447-791 Kyunggido Osan-City
        Yangsandong 411
        South Korea

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