Re: franny and zooey [authorial intent, etc.]

From: Jaime Stallard <stallard@SLU.EDU>
Date: Tue Feb 04 2003 - 04:06:29 EST

I know this autorial intent debate has been going on a while, and I have no
oirginal ideas to contribute, I just have a little anecdote concerning my
Jane Austen class. DISCLAIMER: This story has no real purpose, and isn't
even entertaining, but it's just funny how the little things I pick up from
this list pop up in my everyday life. Today my teacher was interepreting
"The Female Quixote" by Charlotte Lennox and said, in a joking manner, that
he was going to imply authorial intent, although he knew that he really
couldn't interpret Lennox's intent, because of course how can we know what
the author really intended without asking him/her. It made me smile in the
middle of class because it was so relevant to this little debate over
whether or not you really can determine what the author intended.
(He also mentioned today the connection between Mark David Chapmann and
"Catcher" - it was a day just filled with Salingerian themes)

Anyway, thanks for reading my little commentary on life as a college student
                 ...Sleep tight, ya morons

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jim Rovira" <>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, February 02, 2003 11:17 AM
Subject: Re: franny and zooey [authorial intent, etc.]

> Responses below:
> > So though we might understand something of human nature in a
> > very different way than did somebody far in time or space, and though in
> > some cases knowledge of how they understood something might be
> > irrecoverable, in my view, it is yet not impossible on principle for us
> > come to understand the way they did. We might not ultimately prefer it,
> > in some cases it might be impossible practically, but my belief is
> > that it is not impossible on principle.
> It seems to me that what we think isn't substantially different. I think
> looking at the same subject from different angles, and I tend to emphasize
> difference while you emphasize continuity.
> I'd agree that it's not impossible in principle. I would say that it
would be
> very difficult to know when we have succeeded and when failed. We need
text to
> recover the thoughts of ancients, but we need to know the thoughts of
> to be sure we're accurately interpreting the texts.
> We can proceed on inference. When people try to recover textual meaning
> making inferences about authorial intent, the most they can ever say is,
> is the author's probable intent given X, Y, and Z." But have you really
> that much, then? And why limit the reading to the author? Wouldn't a like
> minded contemporary perhaps read the text the same way?
> That's why I prefer to make reference to a reading community rather than
> author.
> Jim
> -
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Received on Tue Feb 4 02:06:09 2003

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