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1159301567 - Wolfgang Iser Interaction between Text and...

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Wolfgang Iser “Interaction between Text and Reader” Overview and Study Questions Iser’s essay represents an important example of “reader response” criticism, an approach to literature that emphasizes the role the reader plays in creating the meaning of a work of art. Iser argues that a given work’s meaning is not inherent in the author’s intention, or in the text, but in the “interaction between its structure and its recipient” (1673). Iser’s is a “phenomenonological” approach to literature to the extent that it studies the subjective experience of reading, what goes on inside one’s head as one reads the words on the page. Iser takes his model for the act of reading from the psychology of communication, and specifically efforts to account for the dynamics of verbal exchange. Iser is drawn in particular to those scholars who try to understand how communication happens given that we don’t have any other access to people’s experiences or thoughts other than what they tell us. The fact that we have an extremely limited access to other people’s thoughts, values, and assumptions, forces us to interpret what other people say. Our interpretations of another person’s thoughts, values, views, and the like, influence our interaction with them.
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