Talk:Reader-response criticism

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David Bleich[edit]

It appears that the David Bleich to whom this article wikilinks is not the correct person. The subject of the linked article doesn't seem to have made any substantial contributions to literary theory. I am reasonably certain that this David Bleich is the man in question. MeredithParmer 04:57, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

(Stanley?) Fish and "previous experience"[edit]

Fish explains reader-response criticism as how the reader interprets the text due to previous experiences in their lives. This is really broad, and all-encompassing.... so what is the "actual" definition? Does anyone have any side information? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Fish changes his scales pretty often, but in this context his idea of the "interpretive community" is most salient. One key objection to reader-response theory is that it open the door to anarchy -- every reading is as good as another. But Fish argues that readers interpret the text in ways that are compatible with their culture and time and so on, and in this way there is a boundary as to how they can read a text. Fish assumes a constructionist perspective in this answer: that culture and environment form the interpretive actions of readers.Pscisco 19:42, 19 October 2007 (UTC)


The article wants some revision or rewriting near the beginning to have a better introduction for people unfamiliar with the topic. I am not a critic or theorist, but I'll throw out this draft introduction for more knowledgeable people to improve upon:

Reader-response criticism is a school of literary theory that focuses on the reader or audience and their experiencing of a literary work, in contrast to other schools and theories which focus attention primarily on the author or the content and form of the work. Although literary theory has long paid some attention to reader experience as well as authorial intent and the form of a work, modern reader-response criticism began in the 1960s and 70s ..... [transpose some material from the Relation to Criticism section]

--Jim Henry 10:34, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

To the reader-response critic, however, reading is always both subjective and objective, and their question is not which but how.

This sentence is a bit cryptic... if someone knows what it is supposed to mean, please rewrite it. --Jim Henry 10:42, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

The article also wants references and probably external links. --Jim Henry 10:44, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

The article is wrong in its description of formalism (which is the same thing as New Criticism). Formalists don't deny a role to the reader (you have to read a text if you want to experience it), but interpreting a text means to examine its elements and not anything that is outside of those elements. It's nonsensical to say "the New Critics' position assumed an objective, fixed text that could be studied apart from any human" when nothing but a human can study and interpret a text.Pscisco 19:53, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

I've done some work on this article, incorporating Jim Henry's suggestions on the introduction and noting the statements that you have pointed out as being confusing. I changed the cleanup tag for one requesting footnotes. I don't know very much about the topic but the article seems to be a pretty good overview. A knowledgeable person could improve it by inline cites. Zariane (talk) 15:36, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Section 2 "Objections" needs some grammar cleanup and citations. Cpointon (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 17:48, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

The last Bit of the Article Needs Clean-up[edit]

Hi, new here, but whoever is shepherding this article might want to do some clean-up. It is a bit confusing. For instance, the last paragraph is nonsensical - And i am an English major who is used to reading this stuff. cheers. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rlsomers (talkcontribs) 20:16, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Citation needed: "senseless artworks"[edit]

"Some argue that 'artworks' are now purposely being fabricated which lack meaning but rather the 'artworks' are fabricated only to generate a reader response. The reader response then is corralled via interpretative communities. Reader response rather than handing a freedom to the reader empowers the leaders of an interpretative community against the reader. The reader has no ground to evaluate the 'artwork' as the artwork is senseless. Only a reader response, basically an emotive response, is legitimate. The Web provides an ideal way to form such interpretative communities. The power of reader response strategy is that people are fundamentally 'hungry' for culture and will attempt to impart meaning even to artworks that are senseless. Of course, people can always opt out of these interpretative communities centered around senseless artworks with little to no loss via-a-vis culture and almost certainly a cultural gain." A fascinating idea, and I need to see a citation (not to see it removed). (talk) 14:00, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

David Bordwell[edit]

I don't see how David Bordwell's critical work relates to Reader Response since he seems to be a Formalist.Eriol11 (talk) 06:25, 18 August 2014 (UTC)Eriol11

ETA--the whole 'Extensions' page (where Bordwell was mentioned) is quite poorly edited, featuring a number of unsubstantiated claims.Eriol11 (talk) 06:24, 18 August 2014 (UTC)Eriol11

C.S. Lewis[edit]

It's nice to think that Lewis might have been a reader response critic avant la lettre, but alas, it's not true, and it's especially not true of his Experiment in Criticism. Lewis does say there that a critic should not to try to tackle works which he or she absolutely hates, but that doesn't amount to a thorough-going endorsement of RR criticism. If nobody objects within a month or so, I will delete the reference to Lewis' book (which is an excellent book, but not one based on a RR methodology. Theonemacduff (talk) 04:25, 26 October 2014 (UTC)

Credibility of article[edit]

There are large concerns with the content of this article as there is little citations proving its claims. It appears from a quick Google search that most of the information has been retrieved from this site . The types of reader-response criticism have not been clearly defined as different theorists have some elements in common whilst others contrasting, and this is not clearly stated. There are some portions of this article that are correct yet the structure of this article is confused and not explicit enough detailing the history of reader-response criticism and its concerning theorists. I would suggest a contents change including: 1. The evolution of reader-response criticism 2. Approaches to reader-response criticism (using Tyson's five classifications of reader-response approached: transactional reader-response theory; affective stylistics; subjective reader-response theory; psychological reader-response theory; social reader-response theory) 3. Interpretive communities 4. Oppositions to reader-response criticism 5. Extensions These changes would be supported by credible sources. It would also allow readers to comprehend the foundations of reader-response criticism and provide a better structured article to be built upon. — Preceding unsigned comment added by NicoleJR (talkcontribs) 03:57, 26 March 2015 (UTC)