February 11, 2007

We All Have Our Reasons

"When we ask of a poem questions on the order of 'What did the poet intend it for?'...this is surely a good question to ask, and anybody who objects at this point that the search for the author's intention is necessarily a fallacy should be sent about his business" (Watson 31).

I couldn't help but notice a bit of sarcastic and condescending tone in Watson's "Are Poems Historical Acts?". So of course, I loved this article even more! To sum it up- don't be stupid. Of course there is a reason why an author writes something. That's what we have to go looking for.

This is my kind of way of looking at text. I like to explore why the author wrote it...what he or she was trying to get across rather than bringing in other historical elements to try and create a reason. In the end, the author is obviously the most important part of any piece...without him or her, there would be no text. Sure, as Watson noted, their original intent may be different than what we read into it today, but it is still valid. When writing, words are chosen carefully and deliberatly, to evoke some sort of meaning or feeling from the reader. Even the Victorians knew what was up- they read the poem as just the poem, not with a different historical view or purpose, but with the understanding that the literature and the author was important; everything else was just extra fluff. Everyone writes for a reason. It's up to us to discover what that reason is.

Watson, ''Are Poems Historical Acts?'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

Posted by VanessaKolberg at February 11, 2007 9:16 PM | TrackBack

I agree with you Vanessa that the most important element of a piece of literature is the author because there was an intention whether it was conscious or unconsciously and exploring the text is more exciting than taking the easy way out and looking at the history.
I really liked this line you wrote:
"When writing, words are chosen carefully and deliberatly, to evoke some sort of meaning or feeling from the reader."

The words are the most important factor when interpreting the piece of literature. Without them, we are left with nothing to analyze.

Posted by: Denamarie at February 13, 2007 8:32 PM

Vanessa I must protest! The author is not the most important aspect of literature - the text is!
To quote Dr. Wendland, "Once a work is published, the author is a reader, just like anyone else."
Yes, yes, yes, without an author there would be no text, but the author gives it up once they've written it - intended or not.

Posted by: Diana Geleskie at February 15, 2007 2:34 PM
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