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Reading Our LivesThe poetics of growing old$
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William L. Randall and Elizabeth McKim

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195306873

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306873.001.0001

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READING LITERATURE: READING LITERATURE: THE INTERPRETING OF TEXT

READING LITERATURE: READING LITERATURE: THE INTERPRETING OF TEXT

Chapter:
(p.73) Four READING LITERATURE: THE INTERPRETING OF TEXT
Source:
Reading Our Lives
Author(s):

William L Randall

A. Elizabeth McKim

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306873.003.0004

This chapter discusses the nature of reading from the perspectives of both psychology and literary theory. Research into the cognitive and neurological features of reading indicates that we process written text in much the same way as we process day-to-day experience. In their analyses of reader-response, literary theorists insist that reading is a constructive process, and that a text's meaning depends as much on the reader's interpretation as on the author's intention. Awareness of this process, and of the fact that every text is thus an open text, is necessary for gaining literary competence. Such awareness has been labeled by Louise Rosenblatt as “aesthetic reading,” in opposition to “efferent reading,” which locates meaning only in the text. The chapter argues that reading literature can aid us in reading life, as claimed by proponents of bibliotherapy. Moreover, understanding the process of reading can contribute to the acquisition of literary self-literacy.

Keywords:   aesthetic reading, bibliotherapy, efferent reading, interpretation, literary competence, literary self-literacy, open text, reader-response theory, reading, Rosenblatt

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