Posted by Erin on July 28, 1998 at 20:07:42:
In response to Distinctions, written by Joan, too on July 28, 1998 at 17:32:39
...is it possible?
Natalie:Would I be wrong in saying that you (Danielle & Joan,too...etc) would classify me as a devotee of the 'New Criticism' school - discovering 'as many meanings in a text as my own ingenuity could possibly supply'? I honestly don't want to follow such thinking except in its appreciation of 'richness'. I try to find textual evidence in support of the author's intent.
...an appreciation of richness for whose sake?
Joan::A distinction that I believe is useful to make is the one between making interpretations for personal enjoyment and making them with the assumption that they were intended by the author. [snip] the reader is not free to claim that interpretations that they make were intended by an author without definitive evidence - evidence not based solely on subjective interpretation.
I think Danielle and Joan have done a good job of expressing my thoughts about the essay in relation to the debate about P&P. However, I'd like to add a tiny paragraph...
Cox is saying many things here, and I have some problems with parts of his essay (his criticism of deconstructionism is very muddled); however, what is important in this discussion is the need for a reader/scholar to obtain a certain level of "interpretive objectivity". Cox seems to use this term primarily against the deconstructionists who claim that any objectivity is unobtainable. But the term also refers to authorial intent, and that one of the means to discern the latter is by application of a certain degree of objectivity to one's interpretation of a text; and this implies that the reader must take into account the author's context (including, but not limited to, other works, personal correspondence, diaries, etc.)... and getting out of one's own (context, that is). This affords some level of objective truth.
In my view, 'literary' interpretation primarily involves the appropriation of textual evidence (fact) by opinion --which is fundamentally subjective. The quality or value of an interpretation is based on its plausibility, which is determined by the application of reasonable, substantive claims that have a strong relation to fact. That which defines this 'strong relation' (i.e., the logic, of an interpretation) is dependent upon such things as belief, value, prejudice, etc… our experiential, psychological, and social attunement. We can never be purely objective, but this does not preclude us from striving to be so.
- Subjective or objective Joan, too 00:16:15 7/29/98 (0)
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