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 relationship between the author and the reader of a text? Recent contributions to reader-response theory suggest that the reader is relatively passive. 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 that they might also see themselves as masters and become writers in their own place. This dynamic model of the reading process is most clearly revealed in confessional narratives, and so Foster explores the intricate patterns of the reader/writer symbiosis in texts by Saint Augustine, Kierkegaard, Henry James, Hawthorne, Faulkner, and Beckett. What emerges is a new theory of reading literature: the engagement between writer and reader as a struggle for power in which the reader is active in his complicity and fully aware of his own 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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