Reading identities with Kristeva and Cixous in (as authority over the text) to enable 'the birth of the reader',' critical interest has increasingly focused on reading, with much theoretical power being invested in the hermeneutic and creative capacities of the reader. For Michael Riffaterre in Text Production, for example, the text is a 'limiting and prescriptive code', but his insistence that the reader plays an active part in the creation of its meaning(s) would imply that the textual process itself is a dialogic one between the text and its reader(s).2 Julia Kristeva argues, importantly, that no text can function as a closed system.3 Reading is the cross-fertilization of what is in the text (including its intertextual traces and references) with what the reader brings to his/her reading in terms of his/her own perspectives, cultural baggage and past reading. While each text is under the jurisdiction of historical and ideological discourses,4 each reader, at each time of reading, brings different perspectives to the text, and takes away different experiences from it. Reading is thus a subjective activity, a singular one, yet with multiple possibilities. If, as feminist literary theory since the 1970s would suggest, textual representations contribute in some
Paragraph – Edinburgh University Press
Published: Jul 1, 1996
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