The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 2nd ed. Vincent B. Leitch, et al, eds. Norton, 2010.
Reader-Response Theory, NATC p.18-21
watch Reader Response Criticism by Jennifer Baker
Reader's Response Criticism
Wolfgang Iser: introduction NATC p.1521-1523 and Interaction between Text and Reader NATC p.1524-1532
Reader response criticism privileges the readers reaction to a text. There are many theories, including looking about how contemporary readers reacted to a text when it was published, analyzing how new readers might apply their own values to an older text, or reminding us that the authors intentions dont matter because ultimately it is the reader who makes meaning from a text. After reading and viewing the selections on reader response criticism, select a passage from Iser's "Interaction Between Text and Reader" that stood out to you and write your own reader response to it, focused on your reactions to the passage and how you make meaning. You dont need to retype the passage, just direct us to it using the page and paragraph numbers and pointing us to any other distinguishing features, like the first words or a bit of dialogue. (A passage might be a longish paragraph or a good chunk of dialogue. You select how much text you want to focus on.) Here are some questions to get you thinking, but you dont have to answer them: What is your response? How were you led to your response? What was your process of understanding this passage like? What gaps or ambiguities do you see in the text? How are you filling them in with clues, assumptions, or other details? Is your response personal or is it informed by your values as a member of your communities/your training as a literary scholar/your existing knowledge? Who do you think is the ideal reader of this text and why? Please use examples to illustrate your answer and elaborate on their significance.
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