ERIC Number: ED262424
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Nov
Reader Response and the Verbal Icon: Implications for English Education.
Harker, W. John
During the past 15 years, a fundamental change has taken place in literary criticism, with a decline in New Criticism (literature viewed as a public object) and an increase in reader response criticism (literature viewed as a private experience). New Critics considered the meaning of a literary text to exist within the text as an independent and objective entity that was to be extracted by the reader. For the reader response critic, literary texts are meaningful not through their textual structure, but rather through the minds of readers, acting on them to produce meaning. As the role of the reader has shifted, so has the function of criticism. Since meaning is construed as a private event that happens to readers as they interact with the text, the critic's role has evolved toward describing the process by which this meaning is constructed in the reader's mind. Teachers can do a great deal to enrich and develop the reader's response. They can teach students that literary texts have a degree of autonomy, but that it is only by bringing what students already know as readers about the terminology of literature to these texts that new and more comprehensive formulations of their meanings will be derived and the process of literary education will be furthered. (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Originally prepared as a working paper for the International Federation for the Teaching of English Invitational Seminar (Michigan State University, East Lansing, November 11-14, 1984).