Key Issues In Literary Criticism English Literature Essay

An author-centred reading surrounds the interpretation of literature based on an writer ‘s purposes, intended significance and other biographical/social or emotional factors that lead him/her to make that piece of literature. The word “ reductive ” means to cut down or lesson and the word “ misconceived ” means to be misled or to judge on the footing of misconstruing. An writer centred reading of any piece of literature is so in assorted ways reductive as it limits one ‘s reading and it is besides misconceived as one will construe inside informations based on the writer ‘s background, grounds for authorship and societal every bit good as historical factors. Hence, without a uncertainty if one should use an author-centred attack to the reading of a text his/her apprehension will in assorted ways be reductive and misconceived.

A text should be consumed in the same manner we consume our favorite fruit: we should set on a bib, keep it with both custodies and drop our dentitions in. When the juice is fluxing we should cream it and go on its slaughter until merely the aroma of it lingers. This is so the really same manner we should near any piece of literature: with small or no intervention of the writer but with uninterrupted reading and thought, analyzing of all kinds, from the words ‘ denotive significance to their connotative representation. We should merely merely accept and work with the piece of composing since Wimsatt and Beardsley 1972 propose in their essayA The Intentional Fallacy: “ the design or purpose of the writer is neither available nor desirable as a criterion for judging the success of a work of literary art. ” With this said the impression embracing by many that the writer ‘s background plays a cardinal function in what he/she writes is in assorted ways reductive. Take Jane Austen ‘s Pride and Prejudice for illustration, set in18th century male dominated England the female supporter, Elizabeth Bennet, is portrayed as a cut above the remainder where she goes against the grain of the society ‘s societal norms, speaks her head and gets the rich adult male of her dreams. Now, if we should use an author-centred attack to the reading of this text one would see Austen ‘s background. Was Austen like Elizabeth? In Austen ‘s society adult females had small or no say in who they marry yet Elizabeth ‘s result is the antonym. Not merely does she non suit in to Austen ‘s society but the background of Austen does non co-occur with the life of Elizabeth. So, taken from Hawthorn ‘s Unlocking the Text: Cardinal Issues in Literary Criticism, “ the New Critics accepted that the writer lived while he or she engaged in Literary composing, but lost all parental rights one time the literary kid was born… the writer is traditionally conceived ne’er existed. ” Besides one agrees that, “ … the writer may hold forgotten what he or she was seeking to make in composing the work, or may hold something to conceal- or may acknowledge that the work does non integrate or breed what it was originally designed or intended to make. ” Hawthorn ( 1987 )

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

Furthermore if we should establish our apprehension of a piece of literature on an author-centred signifier of reading due to the writer ‘s grounds for authorship, one may hold misconceived political orientations. “ The writer is hence the ideological figure by which one marks the mode in which we fear the proliferation of significance. ” Foucault ( 1979 ) So, when T. S. Eliot wrote, “ The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock ” was he speech production of his ain defeated desires, his inability to do determinations or his hopes of talking to the adult female of his weaving ideas?

Plato, one of the first individuals to notice on the undependability of writers as explicators or translators of their ain work provinces that it is, “ non by wisdom do poets compose poesy but by a kind of mastermind inspiration. ” So, T. S. Eliot ‘s ground for authorship is irrelevant every bit good as there might merely non hold been a ground but instead the bear inventiveness of his pen. It is left up to the reader to drop his/her dentition into the literature and non be indecisive like Prufrock in eating a “ Prunus persica ” . It is through this that varied lengths of significance will come up. An writer ‘s ground for composing will non needfully be the result of his merchandise. What one plans to compose and what one really writes are two different constructs. What an writer intends to compose should non be equated to his existent work. “ D. H. Lawrence commented upon Clifford Chatterley ‘s incapableness ( in Lady Chatterley ‘s Love ) that, ‘The narrative came as it did, by itself, so I left it entirely. ‘ ” Hawthorn 1987. Therefore a piece of work will take on its ain spirit and will merely intend what the reader wants it to intend.

In add-on, the societal every bit good as the historical issues of an epoch will non necessarily ooze through every pore and cell or every missive and line of what an writer writes. Take for illustration Tennessee Williams ‘ “ The Glass Minagerie ” , the societal concerns of America in the fortiess do non maneuver the drama. Should we establish everything that Tom and Amanda Wingfield do on the fact that World War II is taking topographic point? The concerns environing World War II are non a portion of Tennessee ‘s drama as it is pure fiction and the characters are fabricated creative activities that come about on urge and are partly nonvoluntary.

However, one can non challenge the fact that the Godhead of a piece of literature is non in one manner or the other an inseparable chromosome of that piece of literature. Works such as Wilfred Owen ‘s “ Dulce et Decorum Est ” and Dennis Scott ‘s “ An Echo in the Bone ” are undivorceable from the societal concerns of World War II and Slavery severally. However in taking an author-centred attack to construing these pieces of work one will decidedly hold assorted misconceptions and a reductive amateur apprehension of their contents. Hence, in transporting out an author-centred reading one must be prepared to hold misconceptions and decreased readings. Some critics even go every bit far as to reason that “ auctorial purpose can non be discarded or ignored… ” and that, “ where a author is most originative and original the presence of societal or cultural factors may be detected either as finding influence or as unfastened or concealed capable affair… ” Hawthorn ( 1987 ) . Others talk about lifes and autobiographies ; nevertheless, these like other sorts of information about the writer, are merely texts excessively, which are besides unfastened to reading. For all these grounds Barthes ( 1978 ) debated for the “ decease of the writer ” , which he claimed was necessary to let for the “ birth of the reader ” and the myriad of readings that readers can bring forth.

Therefore, one stands resolute in the belief that the thought of an author-centred reading will without doubt output assorted misconceived political orientations and reduces one ‘s ability to to the full construe a text. The background, grounds and social/historical factors of the writer do non hold to maneuver his/her work. So, in order for the text to come alive, one must read and re-read and do independent opinions.


1. “ Approaches to reading patterns, A resource for English Extension ”

Queensland Studies Authority November 2011, Retrieved October 5th, 2012

2. Bennett, Andrew and Nicholas Royle. “ The Author ” An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory: Cardinal Concepts. London: Prentice Hall, 1995.

3. Barthes, R. “ The decease of the writer ” , in Image, Music, Text ( trans. S Heath ) , Hill & A ; Wang, New York, 1978. 142-48

4. Foucault, J. “ What is an writer? “ , in D Bouchard ( ed. ) Language, Counter-Memory, Practice, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY. 1979.

5. Hawthorn, Jeremy. “ Genesis ” Unlocking the Text: Cardinal Issues in Literary Theory London: Edward Arnold, 1987.

6. Wimsatt, W. K. and Monroe C. Beardsley. “ The Intentional Fallacy ” . The Verbal Icon London: Methuen, 1970-1972.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *