Saturday, 23 August 2008

The intertextual reader-writer

The following is a quote taken from Beth LaNeel-Tanner's helpful The Book of Psalms through the Lens of Intertextuality (2001). It represents her own understanding of how exegesis of the Bible should proceed if one wishes to plumb its possibilities. Her phrase "reader-writer" references the fact that all our reading is also a form of metaphorical writing, as the text is brought into dialogue with our own personal history, and thus a meaning unique to us - in a sense "authored" by us - is created:

The intertextual reader-writer does not always look for a fixed meaning of a word or phrase, but for a more fluid possibility. The intertextual reader-writer is always looking for how a text refers to other "texts," sometimes as a simile, sometimes as a parody, sometimes as a presupposition. The intertextual reader-writer uses other texts to say more than is apparent in the printed text - words and even worlds hidden between the lines, and meanings are formed from a variety of spheres of reference.
At some point in the future I intend to engage these more postmodern approaches from canonical perspective.
For further pontifications on the subject, see my post A chat with my wife on the meaning of a story.
And in case you think post-modernism is about creating your own reality, see my post Postmodernists believe in object reality too!
And finally, concerning the question of the significance of authorial intentionality, I had a bash at it in my post Authorial intentionality and the final form.

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