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ERIC Number: EJ872830
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Pages: 22
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 59
ISSN: ISSN-0007-8204
Deconstructing "Aesthetic Response" in Small-Group Discussions about Literature: A Possible Solution to the "Aesthetic Response" Dilemma
Soter, Anna O.; Wilkinson, Ian A. G.; Connors, Sean P.; Murphy, P. Karen; Shen, Vincent Fu-Yuan
English Education, v42 n2 p204-225 Jan 2010
Through their study of classroom talk about and around literary text, the authors discovered that their application of Rosenblatt's (1938/1995, 1978) "aesthetic" stance to elementary (primarily Grades 4-6) students' affective responses to literary text uniformly lacked the simultaneous articulation of "the real impact between the book and the mind of the reader" (p. 72), that is, what Rosenblatt (1978) and Bogdan (1992) had in mind when they conceptualized "aesthetic" response. The authors' solution was to search for a descriptor that would adequately capture what they saw in these responses, that is, responses that were indeed affective (personal, emotional) and experiential. They found that Jakobson's (1987) expressive function of language could more appropriately and consistently describe such responses. They are aware that the concept "expressive" carries with it some sizable baggage related to how it has been used and perceived in the domain of writing instruction (most notably promoted by Elbow, 1973). This article, then, focuses on a conceptual discussion that provides an argument for utilizing what the authors have termed "expressive response" to account for readers' personal connections to the texts they have read in terms of "memories and free associations" (Rosenblatt, 1978, p. 151). This then leads to an exploration of the possibility of a "third" stance that can account for the kinds of responses that any reader might make at different times and for different reasons as well as Rosenblatt's (1938/1995, 1978) aesthetic response. The descriptor "aesthetic response" may have been asked to do work for which it was never intended. (Contains 3 figures.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 4; Grade 5; Grade 6
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A