Is There a Text in this Class?: The Authority of Interpretive Communities

Voorkant
Harvard University Press, 1980 - 394 pagina's
1 Reviewen

Stanley Fish is one of America's most stimulating literary theorists. In this book, he undertakes a profound reexamination of some of criticism's most basic assumptions. He penetrates to the core of the modern debate about interpretation, explodes numerous misleading formulations, and offers a stunning proposal for a new way of thinking about the way we read.

Fish begins by examining the relation between a reader and a text, arguing against the formalist belief that the text alone is the basic, knowable, neutral, and unchanging component of literary experience. But in arguing for the right of the reader to interpret and in effect create the literary work, he skillfully avoids the old trap of subjectivity. To claim that each reader essentially participates in the making of a poem or novel is not, he shows, an invitation to unchecked subjectivity and to the endless proliferation of competing interpretations. For each reader approaches a literary work not as an isolated individual but as part of a community of readers. 'Indeed," he writes, "it is interpretive communities, rather than either the text or reader, that produce meanings."

The book is developmental, not static. Fish at all times reveals the evolutionary aspect of his work--the manner in which he has assumed new positions, altered them, and then moved on. Previously published essays are introduced by headnotes which relate them to the central notion of interpretive communities as it emerges in the final chapters. In the course of refining his theory, Fish includes rather than excludes the thinking of other critics and shows how often they agree with him, even when he and they may appear to be most dramatically at odds. Engaging, lucid, provocative, this book will immediately find its place among the seminal works of modern literary criticism.

 

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Inhoudsopgave

Introduction or How I Stopped Worrying
1
Affective Stylistics
21
What Is Stylistics and Why Are They Saying Such
68
T How Ordinary Is Ordinary Language?
97
What Its Like To Read LAllegro and II Penseroso
112
A Reply to Ralph Rader
136
Interpreting the Variorum
147
Interpreting Interpreting the Variorum
174
Speech
197
What Is Stylistics and Why Are They Saying Such
246
Normal Circumstances and Other Special Cases
268
A Reply to John Reichert
293
Interpretive Authority in
301
How To Recognize a Poem When You See One
322
What Makes an Interpretation Acceptable?
338
Two Models
356

Structuralist Homiletics
181

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