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How should we think about interpreting literature?
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A text's meaning depends solely on the reader's experience.

Subjective reader-response critics argue that a reader's beliefs about and experience of a text determines meaning.

The Argument

According to subjective reader-response criticism, the reader's reaction to a text determines its meaning. () Although the text holds important themes of its own, each reader will arrive at slightly different interpretations of these themes because of their unique identities and experiences. A common critique of subjective criticism is its "denial" of objective meaning. In this framework, critics argue that no one can make claims about a work's ultimate meaning. Norman Holland embraced this, arguing that all interpretations are subjective because they lie in the reader. () Stanley Fish makes a similar argument but claims that meaning resides in the reader's "interpretative community," not the reader alone. David Bleich, the founder of subjective criticism, argues that readers can still arrive at an agreement concerning a text's objective meaning. They can discern the text's meaning by comparing interpretations with others in the reading community.

Counter arguments



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Monday, 3 Aug 2020 at 17:51 UTC

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