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

    During this movie you also see this practice when Schindler pulls the rabbi out of work and asks him shouldn't he be preparing for the Sabbath. Right after that we once again see the rabbi and other in the factory around the table, candles, and wine in prayer.

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

    There is some non-diegetic music used from the main sound track like a sad, melancholy humming to convey to us that the passengers aboard the Titanic are doomed which makes the audience sympathise. But music is also played when the Titanic is present to make the Titanic look magnificent.

  2. Compare trading places and collateral

    would not expect Billy-Ray to change his mood unexpectedly from a flirty emotion to an aggressive abusive kind of emotion. This creates a comical effect as the audience suddenly gets surprised by the sudden change of mood which thus generates laughter.

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

    For example, we see how Carmen marries a man, who she debatably doesn't even love, in order to bring a safe environment to her children, showing a great deal of affection to her children. Even though all logic would lead Ofelia to care very little about her brother, (he is the cause of her mother's death and Captain Vidal's son)

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

    It has the same criteria as all the other pages. Text Box; The text boxes on this page are positioned differently to other pages, mainly because there are no images being used on this page. I am going to show the outline of the text box, to show off the structuring, and make sure the positioning is exact.

  1. who is 2 blame

    Image Analysis Deconstructing - or picking images apart through the use of fine detail - is an essential part of studying the media. Media texts are largely constructed of images, and we take our visual literacy - our ability to read and understand these images - largely for granted.

  2. Which way are you inclined practical criticism or contextual approaches?

    So it comes down to this. What or why? Personally I would favour 'what'. This is because I believe it is essential to look at a text and see the meaning of it and see how it is written. But the truth is that there is only a fine line between the two.

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