The Reader’s Stance

The Reader's Stance - Rosenblatt

This drawing is in response to Louise M. Rosenblatt’s chapter “Efferent and Aesthetic Reading” in The Reader, The Text, The Poem.  In this chapter, she completes an extensive comparison/contrast discussion of efferent and aesthetic reading  (I’ve included some of the opposing terms above).  She argues that the reader’s stance toward a text determines the quality of the response, not the text itself–that is, the degree to which the reader will evoke an efferent or aesthetic engagement/relationship with the text is dependent upon what assumptions and desires the reader brings to the text.  Further, the reader’s stance is always located in a continuum between these two poles rather than at some absolute end of the continuum.  She also discusses the experiential matrix or stream of thought and feeling that provides the reader’s individual environment of engagement.