Generosity

The Work of the Reader - Finishing the Job of the Author

Here’s a response to Alberto Manguel’s chapter “Beginnings” in A History of Reading, a lovely imagining of how the first act of writing produced the first act of reading.  From this chapter, it’s also clear that Alberto is a Rosenblattian; that is, he’s of the reader-response, transactional theory school of literary criticism:

“While the writer remains present, the text remains incomplete.  Only when the writer relinquishes the text, does the text come into existence.  At that point, the existence of the text is a silent existence, silent until the moment in which a reader reads it.  Only when the able eye makes contact with the markings on the tablet, does the text come to active life.  All writing depends on the generosity of the reader” (179).