LotR (was Re: reviews (but not of MC))

Charles Butler hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk
Fri Dec 12 16:14:20 EST 2003

> If the only point of reading were to determine what an author meant, what
> or she was thinking or intending in writing a book, it could just as well
> served by asking the writer to tell you.  And, in fact, this would be the
> only way you could truly know authorial intent.  It would also mean that
> personal reaction you had to a book would be wrong, because it was not
> intended by the author.  It would mean any new insight not specifically
> written into the book was invalid.  And yes, this is a dramatically
> overstated point, but this is what seeking authorial intent means to me--a
> single-lane highway with all the exits clearly marked.

I don't think a respect for authorial intention necessarily implies such a
readerly strait-jacket as this picture suggests.
For a start, not all intentions are that well defined: my intentions are
often pretty vague, anyway! Even if they weren't, I can imagine
intentionally writing a piece which permitted a *range* of interpretations.


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