1. notleia says:

    You talk quite a bit about author intent, but I question whether it’s quite so important. What the author intends usually amounts to a hill of beans in how people — and culture — react to it. Tolkien got a big kick into popularity because hippies liked the idyllic Shire, but Tolkien really did not like the hippies or their interpretation.
    Or “Twilight.” It’s pretty polarizing. As far as I’m aware, Stephenie Meyer just meant to write a romance, not enrage vampire fans by shifting the genre into annoying, sparkly directions.
    Or “The Grapes of Wrath.” Maybe once upon a time it was cool because it was socialist, like what Steinbeck intended, but the reasons it’s stayed cool have more to do with the “mythic realism,” as my professor called it (which he distinguished from “magical realism,” which is more of a postmodernist thing), and, less importantly, the “inter-chapters” where he shifts to waxing (annoyingly) lyrical about turtles and landscapes and suchlike.
    Just look up “reader-response criticism.” Nobody I’ve met has claimed that it’s the end-all-be-all of literary criticism, but it tends to produce things worth discussing.

    • This final part does come at the end of a six-part series, which (for various reasons) has stretched over a year. So we may have covered authorial-intent versus reader-response in previous parts. If not, then yes, I’d certainly agree that because authors are working with the “raw materials” of God’s world, often truths can come through, beside and against, their intentions.

What do you think?