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
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
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
> 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.
Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
447-791 Kyunggido Osan-City
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