This article seeks to define more precisely the nature of the individual transaction that occurs between reader and text and the potential for aesthetic reading in literature classrooms by relating knowledge of the way pupils engage in literary transactions to theoretical perspectives that address the issue. The validity of Louise Rosenblatt's transactional theory of the literary work, expounded in Literature as Exploration and The Reader, The Text, The Poem, and its relevance for contemporary educators, particularly in the field of English education, has recently been reasserted by Jeanne Connell in her timely and cogent article in this journal.1 The present article, however, seeks to refocus debate by problematizing and subsequently developing some aspects of key theories such as Rosenblatt's while examining the individual and social nature of reading in schools. Rosenblatt's view that aesthetic experiences can have both social origin and effect certainly deserves further theorizing if aesthetic experience in school communities and classrooms is to flourish. The influence of John Dewey's Art as Experience upon Rosenblatt is evident as this seminal text conceives of our primary task as the restoration of "continuity between the refined and intensified forms of experience that are works of art and everyday
The Journal of Aesthetic Education – University of Illinois Press
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