- Tapa blanda: 224 páginas
- Editor: Johns Hopkins University Press; Edición: New Ed (1 de febrero de 1980)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 0801823714
- ISBN-13: 978-0801823718
- Valoración media de los clientes: Sé el primero en opinar sobre este producto
- Clasificación en los más vendidos de Amazon: nº272.495 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros (Ver el Top 100 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros)
The Act of Reading: A Theory of Aesthetic Response (Inglés) Tapa blanda – 1 feb 1980
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Descripción del producto
"A splendid theoretical companion to Iser's The Implied Reader. The earlier book drew much attention for its reader-centered practical criticism of narrative fiction from Bunyan on. The new volume explains Iser's phenomenological technique... This book belongs in every serious, up-to-date literature collection."(Library Journal.)
Reseña del editor
Iser examines what happens during the reading process, and how it is basic to the development of a theory of aesthetic response, setting in motion a chain of events that depends both on the text and the exercise of certain human faculties.
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Iser's point that meaning is not embedded in the text like a gold nugget in a mine is based on the premise that meaning cannot be thought of as static and fixed but dynamic and evolving. His critics have accused him of opening the doors to the meaningless universe of relativism. He has refuted this charge of an unbounded reader subjectivity by noting that the evolution of meaning involves an ongoing process of interaction between text and reader, an act which takes place in the ephemeral world of what he terms a "virtual dimension." It is here that the author creates purposefully a series of gaps and blanks, the purpose of which is to induce the reader first to recognize that such a gap or blank exists and second to use his life experience to temporally and spatially zigzag back and forth within the text and fill these spaces with new and interesting details. Iser insists that authorial technique and reader life experience are by themselves totally inadequate to create a meaning that would induce the reader to keep turning the pages. It is only their simultaneous interaction that imbues the text with relevance. As a reader reads a new text, he recognizes the existence of unfamiliar material, and as a consequence of interacting with it, he will combine these unfamiliar parts with his own evolving perspective and use both as a gateway to create novel higher-order understanding.
In order for this dyadic evolution to occur, the reader must exercise total freedom in the concretization of the text and the assimilation of that text with his unique store of imaginatively recorded memories and events. The problem here (as in any non-fiction text) is that for a non-fiction author to make his points clear, he cannot allow the mind of the reader to combine with the text and free-float its way to some hitherto unexpected meaning. This would prove counter-productive to instructional pedagogy. Such an author knows and seeks to instill a pre-fabricated logic and meaning into the reader. When the fiction author wishes to create gaps and blanks for the reader to fill in with imaginative cerebration, the author wishes the reader to create a cobwebbery of striking mental images that will "bring the text to life." As long as the text is fiction-based, there is no problem. The reader will be free to free-float in a mental amalgam of authorial structure and dug-out memories. But in the case of non-fiction (as in The Act of Reading) these images emerge from the author, not the reader. They are pre-thought, pre-written, and pre-digested. The reader is now expected to assimilate literally the totality of the author's express intent. This the reader can do, but the purpose of this reading is far different than reading say The Sound and the Fury.
Related to the problems caused by a dichotomy between Iser's thesis of mental freedom for fiction and mental strictures for non-fiction is his description of what he terms "negativity." Iser assumes that in fiction the reader will include relevant life experiences but will exclude any biases or prejudices. This is no nitpicking distinction since a reader's aura of negativity may in fact represent some truly life-changing events, the totality of which could and should color his evolving world perspective. Assuming that a reader can successfully include positive memories while excluding negative ones, what is he to make of a full-length text of intricate technical explication? He knows better than to "read into" the work. Very likely, he will resign himself into blindly and fully accepting the logic of the author. The act of self-exclusion of bias will demand that he carefully examine all beliefs before subjecting them to the process of acceptance or rejection. Paradoxically, it is the very exclusion of bias that may prevent him from recognizing a similar authorial bias, thus ensuring a perhaps too ready acceptance of authoritatively assigned dogma.
If a reader of non-fiction goes through the mental gymnastics as outlined above, he will not be seeking a "hidden" meaning or even a "correct" one. Rather, his focus will be on the meaning as he created it at that moment. It follows that concepts like "right" and "wrong" are here irrelevant. This new meaning did not exist before the initial act of reading; any secondary readings will likely produce newer meaning still. The entire process of text and reader interaction Iser terms "aesthetic response." During this process, there is a constant flux of exiting structure and entering imagery that converges at a central locus of fluid meaning. This locus contains the ephemeral meaning of the text, one that endures only until a second reader reinstates the process of aesthetic response, thereby engendering yet another unique meaning. It follows that meaning is never fixed for all time as the New Critics held nor is it as unboundedly relativistic as other reader-response critics have charged. In his defense against excessive subjectivity or unfettered relativism, Wolfgang Iser counters by asserting that the entirety of his aesthetic response is solidly grounded into what he deems "inter-subjectively verifiable characteristics." By this he means that for each reader there is a verifiable rationale for that particular meaning, one not grounded in argumentative concepts of right or wrong but in ideas, themes, and images that held true for the time in which they were considered.
A final point that Iser raises in The Act of Reading is indeterminacy. When any text, whether fictional or not, seems to lack a coherent center of logic, the result is indeterminacy. Iser sees this as a plus, an inducement for the real reader to come to terms with the implied reader such that generated meaning relevant to the reader will result. Just because a text may begin in seeming indeterminacy does not mean that it must end so. The reader will interact with the text to produce meaning. This meaning does not imply a value judgment of good or bad or right or wrong. First the reader will affix meaning, and then will judge its value. Meaning and value now enter the discourse of evolving literary criticism. The Act of Reading then emerges as a valuable tool for authors and writers to debate meaning even as they debate the rightness of the techniques used.