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Authorial Intent
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You are currently reading a thread in /lit/ - Literature

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Let's have a big old discussion about Authorial Intent

>Does it matter when reading a text and creating an interpretation?
>Can something about the author be meaningfully gleaned from a text?
>Are readings of a text that differ from the author's intent invalid?
>If readings that differ from authorial intent aren't invalid, are any readings of a text invalid?
>Does the process of attempting to remove context from the evaluation of a work harm the reader in any way?
>>
Depends on the work and how you want to read it. If your want to study how bias a source is, say the Peloponnesian War, it would be important to know about Thucydides and Cleon.
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>>7599791
It's just a tool. I think it's more effective as a measuring stick by which you can measure their effectiveness as craftsmen in successfully crafting a work that embodies their intentions. However, the author is only one of many of the links that intersect at the point of the text in order to produce meaning.
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>babby's first literary theory

mate reading the fucking wikipedia article will get you better discussion than you're gonna get here.

the tldr is death of the author and intentional fallacy tends to get paraded around by freshmen who just took lit theory 101 as the end all be all of literary criticism because they think it's so cool and edgy (and helps them project whatever shitty interpretation they have on the text and defend it from criticism cuz "muh death of the author")

people who actually work in the field take a much more nuanced version (hence the, you know, decades of literary theories that followed after death of the author/intentional fallacy) that apply different theories and frameworks as needed. authorial intent has it's place, and so does intentional fallacy, but threads/discussions like that that try to pigeonhole it into good/bad/useful/unuseful dichotomies are pretty pointless
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>>7599791
What is that picture from? Does anyone know what the QR code says?
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>>7599824
I was hoping to get slightly more of the pro-"author is dead" crowd
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Let's have a big old discussion about Authorial Intent


>Are readings of a text that differ from the author's intent invalid?
Yes. Casual readers don't care about the author's atmosphere or vision. They only want to be entertained and to get personal takeaways from what they're reading. It's pure narcissism.
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>>7599791
>>7599868

>I was hoping to get slightly more of the pro-"author is dead" crowd
Not sure if I qualify, let's just try.

>Does it matter when reading a text and creating an interpretation?
Depends on your interpretation. Genrally interesting, often helpful, it should not treated as excessively authoritative.

>Can something about the author be meaningfully gleaned from a text?
Expect immense uncertainty. A lot can be "meaningfully gleaned", the relevance and reliabily of such assumptions are usually shaky. The author you look at through the text is the author you extracted from the text, not the one who put the words in place.

>Are readings of a text that differ from the author's intent invalid?
No.

>If readings that differ from authorial intent aren't invalid, are any readings of a text invalid?
Pretty good question, cannot answer. Usually consensus takes care of that one, but that topic is one I know little about. The usual answer is one reliant on your reasoning backing up your reading, once again , that relies on reaction and consensus.


>Does the process of attempting to remove context from the evaluation of a work harm the reader in any way?

Depends on the work, depends on your "goals" and your approach.
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Probably coming out of the ether on this one, but Huck Finn kind of lands on the spectrum of books that could be interpreted wildly different by someone who reads through a different lens.

I thought the book was genuinely valuable literature and even funny, while still holding that uniquely Twain satirical atmosphere.

I think if someone read Huck Finn, they're really doing themselves a disservice by not reading some of his other books. Save for Joan of Arc (which I can't speculate on, as I haven't read), nearly all of Twain's works are satirical or outright comedy.

I wouldn't say that anyone who reads it and seems to only see it as racist is completely wrong. They're right (to an extent), but that doesn't condemn the book.

I started out super inspired about this post, but it's really waned since I started, so I'm just going to say I think it's worth mentioning.
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>>7599791
Yes, misreadings of plot and theme of a competent author are invalid. Borski's work on wolfe is mostly bullshit, for example. One can argue effect and unintentional reception (fda as a result of misreading of main points of the jungle) but the intent stands. The woman in the yellow wallpaper hangs herself and becomes a shadow even if 300000 literary critics are too dim to get that a girl attached to a rope ready to jump who locks the room and has her husband faint when he barges in isn't causing him to collapse from destabilizing his masculine authority ... he collapses becase his wife hangs herself. They dont realize a text can have a dead character still speak as she creeps over her husband, the shadow of the hung woman, because they are blinded by mainstream literary genres and don't get ghost stories. Peer reviewed paper should NOT ask what he will do to her when he gets up except put her in a casket.
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>>7599824
good post

I'd also like to suggest that if you're not publishing your interpretations of a text, are not a literary theorist or critic, or anything like that, no one gives two shits what your interpretation of a text is, author-approved or not.
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>>7600001
Consensus is a fickle arbiter, too ... the author and one reader can be right, and everyone else wrong, like eratosthenes looking in a well and calculating the circumference of earth and distance to the sun by watching shadows, followed by 2000 years of flat earth philosophy.
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>>7600656
But critics are often wrong about confusing texts. Becketts unnameable is a dick, not some ontological mystery, but thousands of pages of bullshit abound in peer reviewed circles. Its a big joke.
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>>7600668
begging the question yippee
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>>7599829
It says

>Art is now a fungible financial asset. It does not matter what the substance of the object is so long as a market for this object exists and can be owned and transferred.
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>>7600833
I guess that's clever.
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>>7600661
Not sure if that is comparable.
Simply said, most people I've talked to do not think about interpration in such harsh terms as "being right" or "wrong".
It's more like "does this make sense if following the reasoning presented to me by this person". Have fun getting a "right" interpretation of some Lima/Mamleev/Petras, hell, have fun even getting some consensus.
The academic approach also differs strongly depending on your theoretical background/method. I'm sure you'd enjoy a compilation of interpretations of the same text using different kinds of analysis.
Also, consensus is not thought of as agreeing on "the right" interpretation, but rather a range of viable ones.
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