February 18, 2007

The reader is what is important!

Let me start off by saying that up to this point this essay is the one that I understand the best. The argument was focused and well planned. I was actually able to follow it. That said, let's get down to business.

In his essay, Iser explained the four different types of readers arguing why the first three (the supperreader, the informed reader, and the intended reader) were the wrong way to go and then explained why the implied reader (his theory) was the best. After hearing what he thinks of these three readers I was very interested in how he was going to introduce and argue his implied reader theory. The other theories, though he disliked them, seemed to me like they would work too, especially the informed reader. To me that is what I identified most with because that (in my opinion) is what we are being taught to be.

Iser states:

If, then, we are to try and understand the effects caused and the responses elicited by literary works, we must allow for the reader's presence without in any way predetermining his character or his historical situation. We may call him, for want of a better term, the implied reader.

This means that the reader, while reacting to the text, must remember that there is no historical background for the text or the reader and that it will be received as the reader will recieve it. This aspect of reader response just doesn't seem as if the reader is reacting. It seems to me that what the reader is doing is creating his own close readeing of the text without actually reacting to it which is what I thought reader response was all about. I think that this is another reason that I prefer the idea of the informed reader over the implied reader. At least with the informed reader, although the reader has to have many characteristics, there are at least guidelines that can be followed.

Another part to Iser's theory on the implied reader is the belief that the reader must play some part in the story. Whether that means the texts "ignore their possible recipient or actively exclude him," the reader must still play some part in the reading. It seems as if Iser is trying to say that the reader must dig and dig hard to find meaning from the text because the text is not going to help him even though that is what is being studied. I'm not sure that I would be able to work with the idea of the implied reader for that reason. I think that the reason I prefer the informed reader idea better is because here we are taught to be critical readers of texts and to think critically. In my mind these ideas fall into the category of the informed reader and I'm not sure if I can change that.

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

Posted by Tiffany Brattina at February 18, 2007 8:23 PM | TrackBack
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