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ColoradoGuy
01-09-2007, 09:56 PM
I think Fanfic is probably the best example of how readers respond to a text (broadly defined, of course, as in the case of a movie or TV show) and make it their own.

Stanley Fish would be so proud. Maybe he is writing Surprised by Spock even now.

Medievalist
01-09-2007, 10:46 PM
I'll ask him for you, if you like. Give me a couple of questions :D

ColoradoGuy
01-09-2007, 11:06 PM
I'll ask him for you, if you like. Give me a couple of questions :D
Check your box for a Fishy PM.

giftedrhonda
01-09-2007, 11:08 PM
I hope you post the answers on here!

MacAllister
01-09-2007, 11:31 PM
CG, I hadn't thought of it that way--but you're completely right. And many of the criticisms I hear about fanfic are very similar in both form and content to the criticisms about reader response.

If the writer never meant to go there, is it valid for the reader to use the text as a jumping off point like that? Does the text exist as a contract between writer and reader, or does it only become valid when the reader engages it and applies meaning?

giftedrhonda
01-09-2007, 11:37 PM
Oooooh good question, MacAllister. I suspect there will be differing opinions. I read in one of my grad classes that some people feel that once you write your book and release it, it is no longer yours. It becomes the reader's book to interpret as he/she pleases.

I'm not sure I believe it to THAT extent. I think writers put a piece of themselves in their writing. Just because you're opening it up to others doesn't mean you're giving it up completely.

But I do think writing can stimulate that area of readers, even to the point of them writing fanfic as a point of agreeing/disagreeing with what you did to your novel. Kind of like a conversation, in a way.

As to whether or not a writer thinks that's ok, it's not my place to say. I'd probably be flattered in a way that someone considered my work memorable enough to want to write fanfic, but then again, you do want to make sure your work isn't diluted to where you're not as strongly associated with it.

Crazy.

ColoradoGuy
01-09-2007, 11:38 PM
If the writer never meant to go there, is it valid for the reader to use the text as a jumping off point like that? Does the text exist as a contract between writer and reader, or does it only become valid when the reader engages it and applies meaning?
It’s a variant of the old “if a tree falls in the forest” question. Without the act of reading, of apprehending, the text is nothing. The text’s author has no claim on what follows from the act of reading. The author had plans, dreams, intentions, but as when children leave the nest, the text has gone off to make its own way in the world.

MacAllister
01-09-2007, 11:40 PM
Well, and there's the tension about intellectual property, as well as what constitutes "canon"...if a reader is reading tons of fanfic, in addition to legit text (for lack of a better terms off the top of my head)--does it alter the reader's perception and overall understanding of those characters, whether or not that reader intends for it to do so?

Birol
01-09-2007, 11:41 PM
Right, CG. It's the idea that the book is actually a collaboration between the author and reader, that they both bring a part of themselves to the text, creating a hybrid between the two of them. Now, this suggests that for each book written, there is an infinite variety of interpretations out there, one for each writer-reader combination.

giftedrhonda
01-09-2007, 11:43 PM
Ohhhhh yes, that's true about intellectual property.

Isn't there something called "reader-response theory", where they say something like as a reader is reading a text, he/she is constantly assuming what's going to come next. Maybe fanfic arises out of an unfilfilled need in that aspect...e.g., the reader is displeased with what occurs next...or so pleased, he/she wants to continue the saga...?

(again, it's been a few years since I've studied these, so if i'm messing up the terms, forgive me! but thanks for the brain-stimulating conversations...)

MacAllister
01-09-2007, 11:44 PM
the book is actually a collaboration between the author and reader, that they both bring a part of themselves to the text, creating a hybrid between the two of them. Now, this suggests that for each book written, there is an infinite variety of interpretations out there, one for each writer-reader combination.See, I don't think that's entirely true--I think there are shades of interpretations, and each reader brings, perhaps, his or her own "flavor" to the text...

But the Text is the Text. And, you know, it does have meaning. If it didn't, we wouldn't even need text, right? Moreover, outside of fiction, if the list of ingredients on our cereal boxes had no real meaning external to the reader, then what would be the point?

Words don't cease having intrinsic meaning because you arrange them to make fiction.

ColoradoGuy
01-09-2007, 11:49 PM
See, I don't think that's entirely true--I think there are shades of interpretations, and each reader brings, perhaps, his or her own "flavor" to the text...

But the Text is the Text. And, you know, it does have meaning. If it didn't, we wouldn't even need text, right? Moreover, outside of fiction, if the list of ingredients on our cereal boxes had no real meaning external to the reader, then what would be the point?

Words don't cease having intrinsic meaning because you arrange them to make fiction.
I’m actually a more “the text says so” guy than not. But I do find the tension fascinating. It’s a little like listening to John Cage’s fifteen minutes of silence, in which he asks the listener to fill in the music. Now that’s reader response for you!

sunandshadow
01-10-2007, 12:22 AM
But is the text the text after you translate it into a different language? What if two different people translate it differently?

ColoradoGuy
01-10-2007, 12:27 AM
But is the text the text after you translate it into a different language? What if two different people translate it differently?
Then you've got two texts: related, but two texts.

Birol
01-10-2007, 12:28 AM
See, I don't think that's entirely true--I think there are shades of interpretations, and each reader brings, perhaps, his or her own "flavor" to the text...

But the Text is the Text. And, you know, it does have meaning. If it didn't, we wouldn't even need text, right? Moreover, outside of fiction, if the list of ingredients on our cereal boxes had no real meaning external to the reader, then what would be the point?

Words don't cease having intrinsic meaning because you arrange them to make fiction.

I wouldn't confuse definitions with meaning, MacAllister. The list ingredients on cereal boxes has definition, but what those words, what that text means, varies from reader to reader. For example, if you had a loaf of bread and all the ingredients listed were natural, the individual who preferred organic food might think, "This is a loaf of good, wholesome bread." That is what the list of ingredients means to them. Whereas the single mother existing on minimum wage might think, "This bread is going to spoil before we can eat it. I'm going to get a loaf of Wonder."

Each reader of the list of ingredients interprets the text differently and applies a different meaning to it, although both agree on the definition of the text.

And some words, some texts, have different definitions depending on who is reading it, too.

katiemac
01-10-2007, 02:46 AM
I'm reminded of the ending to "The Handmaid's Tale," where I felt the closing page almost reads like a 'choose your own adventure.' It's completely up to the reader to decide what happens next, who is to be trusted... One reader could say she's doomed, a second thinks she's saved. What then?

Birol
01-10-2007, 02:53 AM
I did some work on Atwood last semester (actually still finishing a paper) and she states on her website that if there is ambiguity in one of her novels it is because she meant for it to be there.

Dawno
01-10-2007, 09:13 PM
Isn't a great deal of fan fic derived from Film or TV? IIRC, Star Trek purists don't consider the books "canon".

The other thing I would throw out for your consideration is that what words the scriptwriter created were then re-interpreted by the actor and director, so the actual received fiction didn't belong to the original writer in the first place.

giftedrhonda
01-10-2007, 09:18 PM
That's true - in the case of film/TV, we have an added layer separating us from the author's text...and to add to that, you have the director's artistic vision/implementation, what is cut/added, what makes it to the final cut, etc.

There are multiple layers between the original text and what we actually see...

ColoradoGuy
01-10-2007, 09:18 PM
Isn't a great deal of fan fic derived from Film or TV? IIRC, Star Trek purists don't consider the books "canon".

The other thing I would throw out for your consideration is that what words the scriptwriter created were then re-interpreted by the actor and director, so the actual received fiction didn't belong to the original writer in the first place.
Which is why the viewpoint that anything with language can be a "text" particularly applies to TV and movies. Instead of "reader response" you've got "reader-reader response."

MacAllister
01-14-2007, 04:13 PM
ColoradoGuy said:

Which is why the viewpoint that anything with language can be a "text" particularly applies to TV and movies. Instead of "reader response" you've got "reader-reader response."
Right--which brings us back to the whole problem writers have with fanfic--that it sets up and executes relationships and events never intended, and people read that, and the knowledge/experience informs how they approach the authentic characters and settings whether that reader intends or expects that outcome, or not.

Birol said, earlier:

I wouldn't confuse definitions with meaning, MacAllister. The list ingredients on cereal boxes has definition, but what those words, what that text means, varies from reader to reader. For example, if you had a loaf of bread and all the ingredients listed were natural, the individual who preferred organic food might think, "This is a loaf of good, wholesome bread." That is what the list of ingredients means to them. Whereas the single mother existing on minimum wage might think, "This bread is going to spoil before we can eat it. I'm going to get a loaf of Wonder."

Each reader of the list of ingredients interprets the text differently and applies a different meaning to it, although both agree on the definition of the text.

By all means, then, let's work towards a definition for the distinction. :D

I might argue, for instance, that if a loaf of bread lists: unbleached wheat flour, milk, eggs, butter, yeast, cane syrup --that indeed, there is meaning to be inferred from that list, meaning provided by the definitions of those words.

When that same label goes on to list "ribonuerofleuric acid extracts, genetically modified yeast-derived laboratory-created organisms, paraffin OR assorted petroleum byproducts, US Dye #37892a (patent pending) and hexamethachloride derivatives"--the meaning is similarly altered by the definitions of those words--that is, there is meaning, then, that can reasonably be applied to definition.

Definition informs and describes meaning, and the two are in many ways inextricable in their relationship.

Birol
01-14-2007, 05:34 PM
You need to finish your argument. How is the meaning altered by the definitions of those words? How is the meaning applied to definition? How does definition inform and describe meaning?

MacAllister
01-14-2007, 06:04 PM
Okay, sure. Let's start with the bones of the two words, themselves:


define (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=define)
c.1384, from O.Fr. definir "to end, terminate, determine," from L. definire "to limit, determine, explain," from de- "completely" + finire "to bound, limit," from finis "boundary." Definite (1553) means "defined, clear, precise, unmistakable;" definitive (c.1386) means "having the character of finality." Definition is recorded from 1645 as a term in logic; the "meaning of a word" sense is from 1551.

mean (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=mean) (v.)
O.E. mænan "to mean, tell, say, complain," from W.Gmc. *mainijanan (cf. O.Fris. mena, Du. menen, Ger. meinen to think, suppose, be of the opinion"), from PIE *meino- "opinion, intent" (cf. O.C.S. meniti "to think, have an opinion," O.Ir. mian "wish, desire," Welsh mwyn "enjoyment"), probably from base *men- "think." Meaningful first attested 1852.


It's very hard to ascribe any, umm, meaning to a word without defining it. And vice versa. Inextricably related. We're dealing with two words that are also synonyms:


Main Entry: meaning
Part of Speech: noun 1
Definition: signification
Synonyms: acceptation, allusion, bearing, bottom line*, connotation, content, context, definition, denotation, drift, effect, essence, explanation, force, gist, heart*, hint, implication, import, interpretation, intimation, meat, message, nitty-gritty*, nuance, pith, point, purport, sense, significance, spirit, stuff, subject, subject matter, substance, suggestion, symbolization, tenor, thrust, understanding, upshot, use, value, worth
Source: Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.3.1)
Copyright © 2007 by Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. All rights reserved.
* = informal or slang

So if the question is, as you pose:
How is the meaning applied to definition? How does definition inform and describe meaning?
Essentially, the concepts of meaning and definition are intertwined. They very nearly do mean the same thing. That is, they very nearly describe the same idea.

Meaning is perhaps impossible without definition. And definition, likewise, is perhaps impossible without meaning. Definition provides the boundaries of the thought--together, they create a word.

You cannot define a word without ascribing meaning. And you can't ascribe meaning to that word without any edges or boundaries to it.

So a word, then, tells us both what it means and what it does not. Cane syrup is not aspartame.

Now, where really interesting things start to happen is when we use words to mean something other than their definitions--and when that happens in advertising, for example, it's, ummm, lying. That ability of words, though, does not negate the relationship between meaning and definition. We can dissemble with words without disconnecting meaning from definition. What you have to do to accomplish that, though, is either deny both meaning and definition, and use the word falsely--which is evil--or somehow expand the word to include meaning that's beyond or outside the definition--which is metaphor.

(ETA: w00t! This forum is even cooler than the old nightowl thread...)

Medievalist
01-14-2007, 08:44 PM
Definition limits meaning.

ColoradoGuy
01-14-2007, 09:12 PM
Definition limits meaning.
Oooh--them's fighting words! As Mac implies, definitions can layer on new dimensions of interpretation. They can expand meaning, too. At least it seems to me. And I really woudn't fight you over it. It wouldn't be seemly.

Pronunciation: 'sEm-lE
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): seem·li·er; -est
Etymology: Middle English semely, from Old Norse s[oe]miligr, from s[oe]mr fitting
1 a : GOOD-LOOKING (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/good-looking), HANDSOME (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/handsome) b : agreeably fashioned : ATTRACTIVE (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/attractive)
2 : conventionally proper : DECOROUS (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/decorous) <not seemly to brag about oneself>
3 : suited to the occasion, purpose, or person : FIT (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/fit)
- seem·li·ness noun
- seemly adverb

So I read here it wouldn't be proper.

Pronunciation: 'prä-p&r
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English propre proper, own, from Anglo-French, from Latin proprius own
1 a : referring to one individual only b : belonging to one : OWN (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/own) c : appointed for the liturgy of a particular day d : represented heraldically in natural color
2 : belonging characteristically to a species or individual : PECULIAR (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/peculiar)
3 chiefly dialect : GOOD-LOOKING (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/good-looking), HANDSOME (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/handsome)
4 : very good : EXCELLENT (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/excellent)
5 chiefly British : UTTER (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/utter), ABSOLUTE (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/absolute)
6 : strictly limited to a specified thing, place, or idea <the city proper>
7 a : strictly accurate : CORRECT (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/correct) b archaic : VIRTUOUS (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/virtuous), RESPECTABLE (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/respectable) c : strictly decorous : GENTEEL (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/genteel)
8 : marked by suitability, rightness, or appropriateness : FIT (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/fit)

And so on. . .

Medievalist
01-14-2007, 10:14 PM
Limits are often not prescriptive but descriptive --- I think that's true in the case of definitions.

Seemly does not mean green or large or slow. By limiting the semantic range, the definition frees us to explore the connotative and denotative meanings, the literal meanings, and the implied meanings.

ColoradoGuy
01-14-2007, 10:21 PM
Yeah, yeah -- you're right. I was just advocating a little for the devil until Rob or Haskins show up.

Medievalist
01-14-2007, 10:41 PM
I was just advocating a little for the devil until Rob or Haskins show up.

If you invoke him, he will appear.

kdnxdr
01-15-2007, 01:35 AM
My brain tripped over this discussion and went out the door down a different hallway.

I took what I was reading in this thread and started applying what was being said to crop circles, prehistoric cave writings in France and Australian aboriginal clicking. Why? I couldn't tell you.

As I was tripping along, I began to again contemplate that their is an intention of making marks that transcends the connection to being apprehended, at least by humans.

If in biblical texts The Creative Force of God was The Spoken Word and That Word called creation into existence, then I would venture that (man) inherently emulates that model. Naming something gains ownership/possession of the named object on some level. Naming something also validates the existence of something relative to the namer.

I don't see definition/meaning as ever being static but as an initial template that is always in a state of flux, depending on the intent of the users and receivers.

The best example I can think of, in my limited knowledge, where the combination of music, poetry and communication is exemplified is the scene in Close Encounters of the Third Kind where it is attempted to communicate with alien beings.

So, way cool.

kdnxdr
01-15-2007, 01:41 AM
Limits are often not prescriptive but descriptive --- I think that's true in the case of definitions.

Seemly does not mean green or large or slow. By limiting the semantic range, the definition frees us to explore the connotative and denotative meanings, the literal meanings, and the implied meanings.

But, I think "green or large or slow", in combination, can mean unseemly which indirectly says something about seemly, something not being green, large and slow (like Shrek being an org and a prince).

robeiae
01-15-2007, 05:05 AM
If you invoke him, he will appear.
Re meaning and definition:

1) With regard to a specific word/term, the definition of a word is an explicit presentation of one or more specific meanings. For instance, a full definition of the word "tape" includes descriptions of several different meanings.

2) the idea that something like a list of ingredients for cereal has different meanings for different people seems counter-intuitive. The meaning of the idea 'list if ingredients" is quite clear. It means those elements used to manufacture the product. Each individual component of the list certainly has a meaning, found by looking at the definition of each particular term. To suggest that the specifics of these terms produces some kind of cognitive recognition, particular to an individual, is not really talking about the meaning of the list or its specifics. Rather, it's talking about perceived causal relationships assumed by the particular individual. In other words, the concept of "meaning" is being used incorrectly, imo (and likely in Wittgenstein's opinion, as well, CG :) )

3)I agree with Medievalist:
Limits are often not prescriptive but descriptive --- I think that's true in the case of definitions.

Seemly does not mean green or large or slow. By limiting the semantic range, the definition frees us to explore the connotative and denotative meanings, the literal meanings, and the implied meanings.

Dawno
01-18-2007, 05:04 AM
So, what does all this have to say about slashfic then? ;)

Sorry. I often use humor reflexively and defensively when I feel intellectually outgunned. And around here, I'm holding a cap gun against a slew of heavy weaponry.

Anyway and however, I have been thinking about this topic quite a lot since it popped up - although more on the fan fic as reader response than definitions and meaning.

I believe I'd do better in a RL conversation. I think out loud - often testing ideas and making decisions about what I really mean/believe based on having them refuted or tested or reflected back in a different way by someone else.

And I think that's part of the point we're discussing? How we derive personal meaning from what we read/see/hear and respond to it. Sometimes we can't bear to let the ideas go and we have to bring them back, thus, for some, the outlet is fanfic.

If not, just move along. I'm sure I'll find something shiny to distract me soon.

ColoradoGuy
01-18-2007, 05:56 AM
Why yes indeed Dawno. Your conversation metaphor is quite apt. One notion of what texts represent (or, as Theorists would call them, Texts) is that they are a conversation between the reader and the writer. That's why some critics use the verb "interrogate" to describe what they are doing through a close reading of the words.

Medievalist
01-18-2007, 06:01 AM
See, this is where I sort of fail. My metaphors are just not viable in terms of contemporary theory.

I like to caress text, and fondle words, and taste them and shape them, and parse them, and turn them around and see how they look from the back.

I'm supposed to deconstruct text, and interrogate it and analyze it and subvert it and . . .

robeiae
01-18-2007, 06:03 AM
*pant*















What?

ColoradoGuy
01-18-2007, 06:04 AM
I'm supposed to deconstruct text, and interrogate it and analyze it and subvert it and . . .
. . . and trick it, I suppose. I think some of those Theorists actually think of text as the enemy, rather than a faithful friend. I'm actually on your side. I want to understand Theorists, but I still think words are my friends, not the sort of deceitful creatures some critics seem to regard them to be.

Medievalist
01-18-2007, 06:48 AM
. . . and trick it, I suppose. I think some of those Theorists actually think of text as the enemy, rather than a faithful friend.


Yeah, I want to make love, not war.

Cath
01-18-2007, 06:49 AM
Pacifism as it applies to critical theory?

Medievalist
01-18-2007, 06:54 AM
I love text. I really do. I don't want to damage it. I want to see how it works, how it offers multitudes of meanings, how different people do read it differently, not wrongly, but differently.

Wordsworth talks about how we murder to dissect (http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/411.html); I don't want to do that, to destroy the integrity of the text.

Dawno
01-18-2007, 06:55 AM
I'm really stressing the synapses here, I left college in 1978, but there was a period of literary crit (could still be happening and I wouldn't know) that I had to study (I was an English Literature major) where it seemed that, at the end of a tediously minute dissection of a writer's work, there was nothing (to me) that even remotely sounded like what the author had written/meant - at least how I perceived meaning when I had read it.

It just seems to me they were going off on spurious tangents to advance some platform or another they were obsessed with, rather than providing helpful insight into the deeper meaning of a work.

Like Freud said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

ColoradoGuy
01-18-2007, 06:59 AM
Yeah, I want to make love, not war.
Well, in this Bush era, interrogation has at times been confused with torture. Some Theory seems like Paul Wolfowitz confronting a hapless soul at Gitmo. (This quip brought to you by your friends at the TIO board.)

robeiae
01-18-2007, 07:13 AM
Well, in this Bush era, interrogation has at times been confused with torture. Some Theory seems like Paul Wolfowitz confronting a hapless soul at Gitmo.Note the terminology chosen: interrogation, torture. What can we say about these concepts? "Interrogation" as a process is observational in context, insofar as it represents a supposed action-response routine. In contrast, "torture" is an integrated process; observational data is inconsequential. Similarly, "interrogation" is goal-oriented, "torture" is not. The juxtaposition of the two suggests a profound disconnect, with regard to form and function. Can we attribute this to simple misunderstanding, or is something more sinister at work, here?

ColoradoGuy
01-18-2007, 07:18 AM
I warned you it came from TIO, Rob. Some Theory explications are pretty tortured to read, and their authors sure seem to have tortured texts to get the texts to talk, or at least say what the critics wanted to hear. But see, torture never works -- not at Gitmo, not while reading.

ColoradoGuy
01-18-2007, 07:20 AM
Oh, and there may yet be a place for you in the faculty lounge somewhere with Ivy on the walls.

Medievalist
01-18-2007, 07:23 AM
I'm more likely to want to entice meaning to emerge naturally from the text; reading is seductive, after all; we speak of narrative lust, for instance.

robeiae
01-18-2007, 07:23 AM
Oh, and there may yet be a place for you in the faculty lounge somewhere with Ivy on the walls.Bathroom attendant?

Medievalist
01-18-2007, 07:57 AM
It just seems to me they were going off on spurious tangents to advance some platform or another they were obsessed with, rather than providing helpful insight into the deeper meaning of a work.

Yes! I still feel this way, very very much. I've had to read so much criticism, and theory, of late, for my dissertation, and honestly I swear more than half of what I've read makes little or no sense, makes basic errors of fact, and honestly doesn't seem to be about the text in question.

It's been more than a little disillusioning.

Dawno
01-18-2007, 08:25 AM
I believe the worst offenders of the late 70s were the feminist reconstructionists who turned everything into a diatribe about the oppression of women. Not that there wasn't a lot of opression of women in history, but some of the most liberating perspectives of women came from the very literature they were critiqueing (how the heck do you spell that!) I was all for women's lib but this stuff was very 'foaming at the mouth' radical feminism applied to, say, Shakespeare. I think that may have soured me on seeking a higher degree in English - seemed like the goal was to suck the joy out of the reading.

Medievalist
01-18-2007, 08:33 AM
I believe the worst offenders of the late 70s were the feminist reconstructionists who turned everything into a diatribe about the oppression of women. Not that there wasn't a lot of opression of women in history, but some of the most liberating perspectives of women came from the very literature they were critiqueing (how the heck do you spell that!) I was all for women's lib but this stuff was very 'foaming at the mouth' radical feminism applied to, say, Shakespeare. I think that may have soured me on seeking a higher degree in English - seemed like the goal was to suck the joy out of the reading.

I got my first M.A. in 1985; I went straight from the B.A. to grad school. I loved my undergrad experience. I loved discovering new books and authors, and new ways of reading . . . I was drunk with words and text, and had had some fabulous and provocative teachers.

I pretty much hated the M.A. I was in a department dominated by feminist theory and just didn't fit in, at all. They didn't seem to like the texts, or words, or, well, life. I left as soon as possible.

It wasn't kidding elsewhere when I said I fled literature for philology . . . mind there is good criticism . . . lots of it, but I'm finding that if it doesn't engage the text, it's just wankery.

MacAllister
01-18-2007, 10:53 AM
My experience with critical theory was really positive, and very different than what some of you experienced--we got to take the theory and apply it to texts (mostly short pieces) to compare and contrast the different approaches, and what the different doors into the text could bring to light. It was really, really fun. :)

Then I went to grad school...

robeiae
01-18-2007, 05:58 PM
Ha! Opposite for me. My undergrad studies in lit and history were full of professors that assumed the validity and need for a critical and /or deconstructionist approach (but not in philosophy, where everything was very classical). In grad school, I got to turn the tables on those same professors and question those assumptions. Very fun.

jodiodi
01-18-2007, 06:35 PM
I must say I'm enjoying this thread a great deal. I'm currently beginning my MA in English on my way to a PhD and your discussion is fascinating. I'm certainly not bright enough or educated enough to engage in the discussion, but I know enough to appreciate it and there are certain points to which I can relate.

Thank you.

ColoradoGuy
05-25-2007, 06:20 PM
It appears the marketplace (or, depending upon your politics, The Marketplace) tries now and then to control how fans use fanfic. (http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/009020.html#009020) Some think this gambit will fail on economic grounds. I think it would fail anyway on philosophical grounds; the foundation notion of reader-response (http://www.xenos.org/essays/litthry4.htm) is that the reader is driving the interpretive bus.

ColoradoGuy
06-06-2008, 09:50 PM
This from Michael Chabon, quoted in the most recent Times Literary Supplement (http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/the_tls/article4065242.ece):

All literature, highbrow or low, from the Aeneid onward, is fan fiction

This interesting essay is about comic books and the blurring of the distinction between high and low culture. Here's another bit from the article, a lovely metaphor:

Like Japanese soldiers fighting the Second World War long after it ended, some still draw a cordon sanitaire around “literature” to protect it from “genre”

Higgins
06-06-2008, 10:26 PM
This from Michael Chabon, quoted in the most recent Times Literary Supplement (http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/the_tls/article4065242.ece):

All literature, highbrow or low, from the Aeneid onward, is fan fiction

This interesting essay is about comic books and the blurring of the distinction between high and low culture. Here's another bit from the article, a lovely metaphor:

Like Japanese soldiers fighting the Second World War long after it ended, some still draw a cordon sanitaire around “literature” to protect it from “genre”

Why start with the Aeneid? Surely if the idea of fanfic actually works (and I have my doubts) it ought to be functioning at all times.

Danger Jane
06-07-2008, 06:49 AM
Why start with the Aeneid? Surely if the idea of fanfic actually works (and I have my doubts) it ought to be functioning at all times.

I was wondering that, too...particularly since the Aeneid is modeled after the Iliad and Odyssey, structurally, and contains plenty of pieces of other literature. I don't know how you can pick a starting line and say "it's all a continuum starting here." It's been a continuum since the beginning of language, at least.

I'm not sure how well this applies, but the earlier talk of shades of meaning reminded me of an interview I listened to a few months ago by...who else, Virginia Woolf:

Interview (http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/audiointerviews/profilepages/woolfv1.shtml)

You need Realplayer to listen, but basically she talks about how words carry with them memories of every use they've ever had, so when you were discussing how much of a text belongs to the reader I thought of this. I haven't been able to find a transcript...sorry.