39

Deliberately steering clear of academic criticism, since that's what you asked for (granted, not what you answered and therefore presumably not the intended meaning of the question. Badum tish.): the author has said that they didn't mean for their work to suggest that. There are various ways you could nevertheless be right: The author might be lying: ...


22

(I previously posted this as an answer to this question, but Hamlet wanted to focus on actual textual analysis rather than discussing the intent issue, so I've separated this out into a new Q&A) It's easy, even for people familiar with literary analysis, to conflate asking "Did the author mean this?" with "Does the work mean this?". As you'd expect ...


14

Regarding authorial intent after the fact, a number of complaints from readers boil down to "If the author wanted to include that bit, it should have been included in the books to begin with." These are stricter textualists, who proclaim that canon is only what's on the pages of the novels, period. So they object to the idea that JK Rowling can say that 20 ...


7

When trying to determine authorial intent, it is reasonable to use any source from that author, as long as it is not contradicted by a more direct source. The only problem with using movies in which the author had input is that you don't know how much is from the author and not others, and how much of it was changed for the sake of the adaptation, e.g., to ...


4

The way that this question is worded implies a particular theory about how literature is interpreted (that is, it's a theory-laden question). The implicit theory seems to be that we interpret literature by treating it as if it were documentary evidence for a fictional universe. In this theory, there is a single fictional universe, and our task as readers is ...


4

It is interesting to hear an author's analysis. It is interesting to hear an academic's analysis. It's interesting to develop YOUR analysis. There can't be any general rule regarding which is 'correct'. And always be aware that an opinion is tacitly prefaced by 'this is one way of looking at it, today, in the context of this class/publication'. It is ...


3

Wimsatt and Beardsley's essay The Intentional Fallacy wasn't flogging a dead horse, nor did it bury the concept of authorial intent. One of the most influential statements of intentionalism is E. D. Hirsch's book Validity in Interpretation (1967). In an essay entitled "Why Intentionalism Won’t Go Away", Denis Dutton describes Hirsch's stance as follows (my ...


3

It is generally a bad idea to assume that the movie is the same as the book. Even when the author is a stickler for control, and manages to get his or her own way, things must be adapted for the screen. Frequently characters are omitted or sidestepped. My favorite example is Ayn Rand's 'The Fountainhead,' where she was both author and screenwriter. She ...


2

In many cases, we can infer the author's intent from the way the work is presented. The author may present numerous scenes that show character A in an unflattering light, from which we deduce that she considers A to be a villain. Looking at the way a book was received in its time also gives us a good sense of how the author may have seen it. When modern ...


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