Stanley fish interpretive communities pdf

Reader-response theory recognizes the reader as an active agent who imparts “real existence” to the work and completes its meaning through interpretation. Reader-response criticism argues that literature should be viewed as a performing art in which each reader creates their own, possibly unique, text-related performance. New Criticism had emphasized that only that which is within a text is part of the meaning of a text. There are multiple approaches within the stanley fish interpretive communities pdf branch of reader-response criticism, yet all are unified in their belief that the meaning of a text is derived from the reader through the reading process.

Lois Tyson endeavors to define the variations into five recognized reader-response criticism approaches whilst warning that categorizing reader-response theorists explicitly invites difficultly due to their overlapping beliefs and practices. Louise Rosenblatt and supported by Wolfgang Iser, involves a transaction between the text’s inferred meaning and the individual interpretation by the reader influenced by their personal emotions and knowledge. David Bleich, looks entirely to the reader’s response for literary meaning as individual written responses to a text are then compared to other individual interpretations to find continuity of meaning. Norman Holland, believes that a reader’s motives heavily affect how they read, and subsequently use this reading to analyze the psychological response of the reader.

Stanley Fish’s extension of his earlier work, stating that any individual interpretation of a text is created in an interpretive community of minds consisting of participants who share a specific reading and interpretation strategy. In all interpretive communities, readers are predisposed to a particular form of interpretation as a consequence of strategies used at the time of reading. The former theorists, who think the reader controls, derive what is common in a literary experience from shared techniques for reading and interpreting which are, however, individually applied by different readers. The latter, who put the text in control, derive commonalities of response, obviously, from the literary work itself. The most fundamental difference among reader-response critics is probably, then, between those who regard individual differences among readers’ responses as important and those who try to get around them. In the 1960s, David Bleich’s pedagogically inspired literary theory entailed that the text is the reader’s interpretation of it as it exists in their mind, and that an objective reading is not possible due to the symbolization and resymbolization process. Bleich supported his theory by conducting a study with his students in which they recorded their individual meaning of a text as they experienced it, then response to their own initial written response, before comparing it with other student’s responses to collectively establish literary significance according to the classes “generated” knowledge of how particular persons recreate texts.

He used this knowledge to theorize about the reading process and to refocus the classroom teaching of literature. Bleich, shown that students’ highly personal responses can provide the basis for critical analyses in the classroom. In general, American reader-response critics have focused on individual readers’ responses. He analyzed their selections in light of their goals in reading. In an appendix, “Literature in the Reader”, Fish used “the” reader to examine responses to complex sentences sequentially, word-by-word.

Since 1976, however, he has turned to real differences among real readers. In 1973, however, having recorded responses from real readers, Holland found variations too great to fit this model in which responses are mostly alike but show minor individual variations. This core gives that individual a certain style of being—and reading. Delphi seminar,” designed to get students to “know themselves”. He has shown how readers put aside ordinary knowledge and values while they read, treating, for example, criminals as heroes. There are many other experimental psychologists around the world exploring readers’ responses, conducting many detailed experiments.


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