Which One Fits You?

"There are three types of 'contemporary' reader - the one real and historical, drawn from existing documents, and the other two hypothetical: the first constructed from social and historical knowledge of the time, and the second extrapolated from the reader's role laid down in the text" (Iser 141).

I had some difficulty with this text, but I will try to explain this quote.

The first reader could be a human reader using history as a basis for criticizing a text. A second reader could be someone who uses the social and history of the time period. A third reader could be someone who uses the intended author's role for a reader.

Someone reading a text can use any of these methods, but "the real reader is invoked mainly in studies of the history of responses, i.e., when attention is focused on the way in which a literary work has been received by a specific reading public" (141).

In other words, a reader like you and I would focus on what responses a text has produced in the past, whereas an "implied or contemporary" reader would use history, social interaction, and reader's role.

A suitable question that I will leave you with is, "Do you think that we are a mixture of the contemporary and real reader or are we simply one specific reader?"

Click here for the course web page devoted to Iser.

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This page contains a single entry by Derek Tickle published on February 20, 2009 6:07 PM.

Is it Formalism or Human Response? was the previous entry in this blog.

Comparing Truth with Language - Which do Poems Express? is the next entry in this blog.

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