Author Representations in Literary Reading by Eefje Claassen

By Eefje Claassen

Author Representations in Literary Reading investigates the position of the writer within the brain of the reader. it's the first book-length empirical examine on generated writer inferences via readers of literature. It bridges the distance among theories which carry that the writer is beside the point and people who provide him prominence. by means of combining insights and techniques from either cognitive psychology and literary idea, this e-book contributes to a greater realizing of the way readers procedure literary texts and what position their assumptions approximately an writer play. a chain of experiments show that readers generate writer inferences in the course of the technique of interpreting, which they use to create a picture of the text’s writer. The findings recommend that interpretations concerning the writer play a pivotal function within the literary interpreting procedure. This publication is proper to students and scholars in all components of the cognitive sciences, together with literary reviews and psychology.

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After reading a story participants were asked to judge to what extent the author might have intended a presented point of the story such as “The point was to make fun of imperialists”. The results showed that “readers use the information about the author to constrain their judgments about the meaning of the stories” (p. 63). Results of a separate analysis on the point “to satirize political correctness” showed that readers thought it significantly more likely that a conservative author intended to satirize political correctness than when the author was liberal.

Because some of his main characters are named Paul and are often writers by profession (such as in Hand to Mouth), I felt I got to know Auster better. Of course I had already seen a picture of him on the cover of his book, but when I saw an interview, this moving and talking Auster illuminated the image I already had. This upgraded image was definitely present when I read one of his latest novels, thereby creating a kind of intimacy. Of course a picture on the book cover or a moving and talking image can also ruin the magic.

From the perspective of the reader it is irrelevant whether a perceived communicative intention of an author is in line with an original intention of the historical author. Central here is whether readers’ assumptions as to the communicative intentions of an author play a role in the process of reading literature. An empirical approach, and especially a multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary one, offers the opportunity to bypass the heated discussion that has dominated literary theory and to investigate whether real, that is, empirical, readers agree with the normative belief that the author should be dismissed from interpretation.

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