Authorial Intent (was Re: Wind in the Willows)

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Tue Jul 15 18:46:17 EDT 2003


On Tue, 15 Jul 2003 10:04:19 +0100, Charles Butler wrote:

>My curiousity duly piqued, I looked at the essay on CL and TotS to see if it
>made any claims about DWJ's intention - rather than simply noting
>similarities between the texts. (Actually, it deal with Witch Week and TotS
>as well, and is just part of a longer essay mainly devoted to comparing DWJ
>and JKR -another tricky question of 'influence', which we can steer clear of
>for now!) Mostly it contents itself with noting similarities, but once or
>twice seems to go a bit further. DWJ - not just her text - is said to 'draw
>on... the psychological thriller, as exemplified by TofS'.

I sometimes wonder if such attributions aren't unconscious, especially if
the rest of the text is very careful not to draw conclusions.  I'm thinking
of how tedious it is sometimes when you seem to be writing the same phrase
over and over again, and varying it just a little is such a relief!  But you
could just as easily say DWJ *seems to* draw on etc. and cover your heinie
that way.

At any rate, I can't see making the assumption that an author has read/been
influenced by a particular work if you don't know that fact for certain.
And as you point out in the part I snipped, not making that assumption would
have to change the whole tenor of the essay.

Melissa Proffitt

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