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

Charles Butler hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk
Sat Dec 13 16:02:21 EST 2003


Melissa:

> >Right on both what Otter and Melissa said.  If the author says he
> >didn't set write an allegory, then he didn't write one  -- but that
> >doesn't mean he didn't *produce* one.  (Where I'm inventing new meanings
> >for language, here: "write" to mean "write with intent", and "produce"
> >to mean "cause to exist".)
>
> I like those new meanings.  I wonder what Jane Austen would think if she
> knew her writing was classed as romance these days?

E.D. Hirsch made roughly this distinction between what he called 'meaning'
(an intentional act, fixed in time for ever) and 'significance' (which can
change over time for different audiences). The opening chapter or so of his
*Validity in Interpretation* provides a very good analysis of the ideas and
objections people use when debating authorial intention - useful even if you
don't agree with his own conclusions (if I had to stick a label on him it
would read 'phenomenological intentionalist', but I don't have a label that
big...)

Charlie

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