deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
[personal profile] deborah
It just occurred to me that it would be really easy in this day and age to put together a portfolio of online and offline writings by creators to show students how impossible it is to get at authorial intent as any meaningful way of interpreting the text. (I don't deny the you can get it authorial intent as a meaningful way of interpreting the authors, nor do I deny that some might find it fruitful to analyze the disjunction between stated authorial intent and the text as it stands. I just find neither of these interesting from a literary criticism point of view.)

But these days, creators of texts are so willing to talk about their intentions that would be really easy to let students analyze a series of texts, make their own judgments, and then read stated authorial intent. Example: give them a series of texts whose creators have claimed to have major feminist intent but where the text itself is a mixed bag, such as Buffy, or (far worse) Veronica Mars. Or how about His Dark Materials, together with an essay by Pullman in which he explains how the trilogy brought down the kingdom of god? (/me pets poor Pullman on the head) Or a book by one of the many authors who has shown his or her ass on the Internet over the last few years -- because some of them have written quite thoughtful, kyriarchy-challenging books? Or the Twilight series, along with Stephenie Meyer explaining how feminist her books are, how much they celebrate her female characters' freedom of choice?

I feel like this could potentially be really fruitful, in helping students to understand that while what authors say might be interesting, it's not a useful way of analyzing the text in hand.
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