8 feb. 2011

The Reader

It was fashionable when I was young to route all of our perceptions of a literary text through "the reader," that imaginary construct. The trouble is, the better reader you are, the less you know about what "the reader" thinks. I was never "the reader." My ideas were more interesting than his, so why bother.

3 comentarios:

Joseph Hutchison dijo...

To whom does the "our" in your first sentence refer? There are imaginary readers, yes—but real readers, too. Are writers to ignore both? (But I'm assuming "our" means writers. I'm on shaky ground, I know.) I suppose it depends on the text you're talking about, too. Anyway, I'm confused by this post, even though I am "a" reader...!

Jonathan dijo...

Readers are real, "the reader" is not. "Our" refers to academic critics when I was young, in the heyday of reader-response criticism. I hate the reader and when I hear about him a want to ask who he is. How arrogant of him to want us to route all our perceptions of literary texts through him.

Clarissa dijo...

I'm not a writer of fiction, of course. Still, whenever I write, the only way of writing anything is forgetting that readers exist. Whenever I start thinking about the possible readers, I get paralyzed. The writing that comes out is stilted and insipid.

Talking about what "the reader thinks or wants" is just as fraught with danger as discussing "what the author thinks or wants."