Subjective or objective
Posted by Joan, too on July 29, 1998 at 00:16:15:
In response to Interpretive objectivity, written by Erin on July 28, 1998 at 20:07:42
] 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.
It is not necessarily subjective; it can in many instances be directly tied to some historical or widely accepted sociological characteristics of the author's era. A good, though not immediately obvious, example of this in P&P is the fact that by looking at a person's estate, house, furnishings, etc. certain things may be learned about its owner. From Tony Tanner's Introduction to P&P:In this case the grounds, the house, the portrait, all bespeak the real man - they represent a visible extension of his inner qualities, his true style. [snip] However, it is true that such a remark could only be made in the context of a society which shared certain basic agreements about the importance and significance of objects, domiciles, and possessions.
So while to JA's contemporaries, the appearance of Darcy's home would immediately reveal certain elements of Darcy's character, the significance of this is lost on 20th century readers who have not made some sort of study of the history, sociology and culture of the Regency era during which these sorts of indications were commonly understood and accepted.
] We can never be purely objective, but this does not preclude us from striving to be so.
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