February 19, 2007

Iser Knows his Readers

Iser, ''Readers and the Concept of the Implied Reader'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"The sequence of reactions aroused in the reader by the surface structure of a literary text is often characterized by the fact that the strategies of that text lead the reader astray -- which is the prime reason why different readers will react differently" (Keesey 143).

Iser's piece is by far the favorite essay at this point, because I feel that he actually understands the diversity of complexities behind the actual reader. There are different types of readers who bring their own judgments, rationales, and opinions into the piece of literature before they even read it, yet the author or narrator can still have an effect on the reader by the end of the story. While competence is a necessary component to reading literature, the fact that a reader already brings in their own judgments into a text is very influential to the literature itself. I wrote an essay on the importance of reader-response and the implications of the reader's original stereotypes and categorizations of characters in Chaucer's literature, and found myself very satisfied with the results of the essay.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at February 19, 2007 3:37 PM

...someone is obsessed with Chaucer.

Posted by: Karissa at February 19, 2007 4:56 PM

I knew, but was afraid to say, that when we got to Reader-Response you were going to bring up your Chaucer paper.

I couldn't agree with you more, though, and I think Val shared the sentiment. We all bring a variety of ideas and pre-conceptions to a reading. The true greatness of a work could (not should) then be measured (internally) against how the text has changed a preconception or idea.

Posted by: Kevin at February 22, 2007 5:19 PM
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