[DWJ] endings [was Best of 2008]

Charlie Butler charles.hannibal at gmail.com
Mon Dec 29 12:19:43 EST 2008

2008/12/29 Phil Boswell <phil.boswell at gmail.com>

> >What can possibly be any more valid than the author's intention?

To be fair, I don't think I've seen anyone say that it's not valid for an
author to have an intention. What some people have argued is that the
author's intention is not the final arbiter of what the work actually means
- where 'means' is rather closer in sense to 'does' than to 'intends.'

It is of course possible to say something other than what you mean - to
mis-speak, as Hillary Clinton memorably put it - in ordinary conversation. I
see no problem with the idea that the same is possible in literature. For
example: you intend to write a romantic hero, but for one reason or another
he turns out an arrogant jerk. He won't stop being a jerk just because you
tell people not to see him that way. (Even so, it's always interesting to
know what you meant to do.)


Website: www.charlesbutler.co.uk

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