Ch Three Intro, Keesey
Authors grow old and die, and the circumstances of the poem's creation are soon lost in the irrevocable past. But the poem, a foster child of silence and slow time, remains for us in the perpetual present.
Everything we know about all literature is that has been made into a "great work" is that it is the readers, not the authors, that make it so. Therefore, we should focus on the relationship of the reader and the author to find a better meaning. Ponder this question:
Would you have understood The Red Badge Of Courage better if you lived in the Civil War Era?
Maybe so. It is all up to the experiences and time of the reader. If somehow we can send that story back a century the responses would be even more different than it is now. Experiences mean a lot in reader-response criticism. Nevertheless, it is not the only thing. It also depends on how much literature has affected our lives. I bet you you did not feel the same when you read 1984 ,did you?
We must remember that it does not matter "the circumstances of the poem's creation is simply not very relevant." It is up to us, that's right, US (as readers) to make a work of literature great or canonized.