String Theory

 The Limits of Interpretation

Here’s a drawing in response to Alberto Manguel’s discussion of the relationship between reader and text in his A History of Reading, more specifically in his chapter “The Missing First Page.”  Therein, Manguel conducts a brief biography of Franz Kafka, focusing on Kafka’s training as a reader and on his belief that, “for a reader, every text must be unfinished (or abandoned, as Paul Valery suggested), that in fact a text can be read only because it is unfinished, thus allowing room for the reader’s work” (92).  Manguel also acknowledges that while readers have the freedom to complete the work of the text, “the work of the reader is never limitless” (93).  To further support this claim Manguel cites an excerpt from Umberto Eco’s The Limits of Interpretation: “The limits of interpretation coincide with the rights of the text.”