ENGL 2740 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Wolfgang Iser, Didacticism

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16 Oct 2015
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David Rudd’s: The Emergence of Children’s Literature
Issues raised: romanticization of childhood, political agendas (interpretation), definition of
childhood/historical cultural variability, crossover media (crossover fiction), role of adults in
children’s literature, power relations
What is the relationship between “children’s literature” and “children”
-Always an adult’s idea of children’s perspective into the world
Romanticism: turn of the 19th Century
-Children born with all kinds of base instincts and needed to be educated into regular
behaviour, 21st C
-Children are born into a daydreaming and imaginative life and the world corrupts them to be
greedy, cruel, etc.
-The world chips away at a child’s goodness
Social Constructs
-must be self aware of the ideas you’re imposing on a child
-when does the definition of childhood end? It is fuzzy
The implied reader
-concept developed by Wolfgang Iser
-The Act of Reading: A Theory of Aesthetic Response
-reader is imagined as a role that one plays or into which one is invited by text
-a subject position (that you’re invited to be into)
-imagined as an action, something dynamic (reading is not passive)
-all texts involve readers and the relations you can have towards a book
-“the implied reader is a child” is not true
-Implies reader and Real Individual Reader
-think Charlottes web, the beginning invites you to realize the concept of fairness and justice
-invites you into a position to see Fern as naive
-you side with Fern because she begins the page, the first person we meet as a character
Questions
How do we conceive the “meaning of” of a text
-text makes meaning in dynamic ways, there is not a single stable meaning to a text
-if there will be an interesting or valid interpretation it must come back to the text
“Monologic or Authoritative”
-there are some texts with a dominating and overpowering narrative voice
-even in a text like that there are always little discourses
-certain texts are left unresolved
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