• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"The true writer is the reader", (Eagleton). To what extent, if at all, do you agree with Eagleton's statement.

Extracts from this document...


"The true writer is the reader", (Eagleton). To what extent, if at all, do you agree with Eagleton's statement. This essay will be focusing on the central tenets of reception theory, which led to Eagleton's statement "The true writer is the reader" and will also evaluate the significance of this statement for the practice of literary criticism Reception theory, sometimes called 'reception aesthetics' or 'reader response' is a recent development, which began in Germany, in the late 1960s, in a climate of literary change and general social unrest. The theory is based on the conviction of the centrality of the reader's role in determining meaning. This was a significant shift of attention to the reader from a preoccupation with the author, in the nineteenth century (Romanticism) and an isolated concern with the text (New Criticism). The doctrine is founded on liberal humanist ideology: a belief that in reading, a reader should be flexible and open-minded, prepared to put his/her beliefs into question and allow them to be transformed. A fundamental problem in literary studies is why different people produce different interpretations of a text. According to Durrant and Fabb in 'Literary Studies in Action' (1990, Chapter 7), the act of reading involves the reader in decoding the text and drawing on a multitude of inferences. For example, the first three lines, taken from 'The Bluest Eye' (Toni Morrison) ...read more.


22) In a collection of essays on prose fiction 'The Implied Reader' (1974), Iser introduces the term the 'Implied Reader' whom the text creates for itself and amounts to 'a network of response-inviting structures' (ibid, p.34), which predisposes the 'actual reader' to read in certain ways. The 'actual' reader's received mental images from the text will inevitably be coloured by the reader's 'existing stock of experience'. Therefore the experience of reading will differ according to the reader's past experiences. Freund in 'The Return of the Reader' (1987,p. 147) affirms that Iser '...attempt[s] to accommodate as broad a spectrum of theoretical speculation as possible, and to integrate it all within a total theory of reading, which will do justice to every component in the act of communication: author, text, reader, the world, the process of reception ...in the one model of aesthetic response...' culminating in disorientation and akin to an 'entry to a labyrinth'. Iser is content in asserting that different readers are free to actualize the work in different ways, and there is no single correct interpretation, which will exhaust its semantic potential, however, he also maintains that the reader must render the text internally 'consistent' or mutually coherent through the combination of the greatest number of its elements. This mirrors Ingarden's view, negating Iser's pluralist insistence. ...read more.


To conclude, reception theory aims to provide a model for critical practice and reader-centered criticism and is now recognized as a competing literary strategy. According to Maclean in 'Modern Literary Theory' (1989, p.142), '...this area of criticism threatens to engulf all [previous] approaches'. He also maintains that 'the role of the historically and culturally situated reader in constituting the meaning of texts has been highlighted. Bibliorgaphy C.Belsey (1996) Critical Practice. London, Routledge. D.Bleich (1978) Subjective Criticism. London, Johns Hopkins University Press. T.Eagleton (1995) Literary Theory:An Introduction. Oxford, Blackwell publishers. S.Fish (1972) Self-Consuming Artifacts: The Experience of seventeenth century literature. Berkeley, University of California press. S.Fish (1980) Is There a Text in this class:The Authority of Interpretive Communities, Cambridge, USA, Harvard University press. E.Freund (1987) The Return of the Reader: Reader Response Criticism. London, Methuen. H.G.Gadamer (1960) Truth and Method. London. R.Ingarden (1973) [1931] The Literary Work of Art. Evanston, Northwestern University Press. W.Iser (1974) The Implied Reader. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press. W.Iser (1978) The Act of Reading: A Theory of Aesthetic Response. London, Routledge. H.R.Jauss (1974) Literary History as a Challenge to Literary Theory: New Directions in Literary History. London, Routledge. I.Maclean (1989) Modern Literary Theory. London, B.T.Batsford Ltd. T.Morrison (1999) The Bluest Eye. London, Vintage. G.Poulet (1969) The Interior Distance. Paris, Ann Arbor. J.P.Sartre (1978) What is Literature?. London. A.Durrant&N.Fabb (1996) Literary Studies in Action. London, Routledge. English Literature assessed essay 1 Majed Jazairi Majed Jazairi 2 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Narrative section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Narrative essays

  1. "The Perfect Murder" by Renate Yates and "The Foal" by Mikhail Sholokhov - attempting ...

    This, along with the attention to small detail and description of the setting and plot, position the reader to accept the attitudes and values presented in the text. Another technique used by authors is setting. The setting of 'the children's playground in the park' with children playing, trees, sunshine and

  2. How has James Cameron adapted and presented the true story of the Titanic?

    Further on there is a shot of a girl waving from the starboard of the ship this creates an emotional connection and makes the audience sympathise for the children aboard. At the dock there are various images portrayed to us there is a high angle view, which is followed by a bird's eye view.

  1. Literary Linguistics and Critical Appreciation - Stylistic analysis of a fragment from novel and ...

    - The verb phrase 'to get tired' implies an annoyance due to waiting. One of the dictionary definitions of the verb 'to get' is 'to have something by buying, borrowing, or receiving it from someone else'. The meaning of the word 'tired' is explained in the dictionary as a feeling of physical or mental exhaustion.

  2. Schindlers List. Schindler's List is based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, ...

    He buys the Jews from Goeth and sets up his factory once more after having to get back a train that got mistakenly sent to Auschwitz. However, he realizes that his factory now making "ammunition" is never going to be able to produce a single efficient shell.

  1. Both Spirited Away and Pan(TM)s Labyrinth represent the traditional family unit as an important ...

    Her mother aside, our traditional family unit members include Mercedes, as a big sister/mother role and Pan, as the only possible fatherly figure the piece. Much like in Spirited Away, where Yubaba is instantly recognised as an evident adult figure, due to her being introduced in the workplace and her

  2. ICT AQA 2006-2008 Problem 1, Theme Park

    The wording will have to be in line with the logo so it does not look out of placed and artless. It is important for this feature to be in the right place, because there is less information and data.

  1. who is 2 blame

    However, in Media Studies we need to be able to explain that decoding process, and describe the steps taken which allow us to derive meaning A from text B. However, deconstruction is only the first part of the process - never forget the purpose of a text, and that your

  2. The Keepers of the House - Shirley Ann Grau In The Keepers of ...

    This proves that Abigail still has her past inside of her. In this paragraph, Abigail gives the other guests a mini lecture about the changes between the past and the present. Saying 'I'm taking it back' shows that she is being the dominator now and that it will all revolve around her.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work