Confession and Complicity in Narrative

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Cambridge University Press, May 29, 1987 - Literary Criticism - 146 pages
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What is the precise relationship between the writer of a text and the reader? Contributions to reader-response theory have suggested that the reader is relatively passive. In this 1987 text, Professor Foster argues that the relationship is more complex than that: readers enter into complicity with writers and create the illusion of the writer's mastery over meaning in order to imagine themselves as masters and become writers in their own place. This dynamic model of the reading process is revealed most tellingly in 'confessional' narratives and so Professor Foster explores the complex patterns of the reader/writer symbiosis in texts by Augustine, Kierkegaard, Henry James, Hawthorne, Faulkner, and Beckett. What emerges is a fresh theory of reading literature: the engagement between writer and reader as a struggle for power in which the reader is actively complicit and self-conscious in his or her interpretations.
 

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Contents

Three exemplary readings
20
Confessional evasion in The Scarlet
52
design and desire
78
the obligation in The Unnamable
105
the web
128
Index
145
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