Reader-Response Criticism + Others = Understanding
“A reader today seeking meaning in the way Harold Bloom outlines that process might note, of course, a fleeting resemblance between the upstairs chamber in Gilman and Poe’s evocation of the dungeon chambers of Toledo; in fact, a credible argument might be made for reading ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ as Gilman’s willful and purposeful misprision of ‘The Pit and the Pendulum.’”
- From Annette Kolodny’s “A Map for Rereading: Or Gender and the Interpretation of Literary Texts” in Donald Keesey’s Contexts for Criticism, page 197
The first thing I noticed about Kolodny’s work is the title; she refers to using gender as a way to assess the text. I was confused because this is supposed to be a chapter on Reader-Response theory, not on Mimetic criticism in the form of Feminist criticism. I kept thinking about this idea as I read, but when I got to the above quote it sort of clicked for me. I realized that this article was placed within this section in order to show how Reader-Response criticism must sometimes involve other schools of criticism. It seems to me that, at least in a case such as this one, another school is necessary in order for the argument to work. One cannot discuss or psychoanalyze the roles of men and women a reader could find in a work without using another form of criticism as well, such as Mimetic criticism as in the title or Intertextual criticism as in the above quote. I really enjoyed this article, not so much for the interpretation, but for its use of multiple schools of criticism in order to prove an argument based on Reader-Response criticism. It is really going to help a lot when I write my casebook essay.