Rereading, Rewriting, Revisioning: Poststructuralist Interpretation and Literary Pedagogy



The seven critical papers discussed in the foregoing chapter are best read in their dialogic sequence, in their effort to trace ‘in other words the figure in the carpet through every convolution’ (FIC, p. 303). Despite their understandable desire for hermeneutic closure, the students who participated in this experiment chose to follow James in a process of reperusal and ‘watched renewal [which is] livelier than that of the accepted repetition’, producing ‘so many more of the shining silver fish afloat in the deep sea of one’s own endeavour than the net of the widest casting could pretend to gather in’ (The Art of the Novel, p. 345). Rather than contain the process of figural revision triggered by their critical rewriting, these readers felt encouraged to explore the ‘wealth of margin’, the site where meaning is produced in the interaction between text and reader. Their attention was thus turned on the interpretive activities (gap-filling, selection, integration, schematisation, restructuring) and modes of critical articulation available to readers who wish to channel their hermeneutic interest into a productive mode of criticism.


Literary Pedagogy Literary Text Narrative Text Critical Rewrite Interpretive Process 
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Notes and References

  1. 3.
    Christine Brooke-Rose,‘“The Turn of the Screw” and Its Critics: An Essay in Non-Methodology’, A Rhetoric of the Unreal: Studies in Narrative & Structure, Especially of the Fantastic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), pp. 128–57.Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    I have been following here suggestions from two recent textbooks that group theoretical approaches around critical contexts and a core of literary texts: Shirley F. Stalton, Literary Theories in Praxis (Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press, 1987);Google Scholar
  3. 10.
    Donald Keesey, Contexts for Criticism (Palo Alto: Mayfield Publishing Company, 1987).Google Scholar
  4. 15.
    On the role of schema theory in reading, see D.E. Rumelhart, ‘Schemata: The Building Blocks of Cognition’, in Theoretical Issues in Reading Comprehension, ed. R.J. Spiro, B.C. Bruce, and W.F. Brewer (Hillside, N.J.: Erlbaum, 1980);Google Scholar
  5. 15.
    also Margaret Early and Bonnie O. Ericson, ‘The Act of Reading’, in Literature in the Classroom: Readers, Texts and Contexts, ed. Ben F. Nelms (Urbana, Ill.: National Council of Teachers of English, 1988), pp. 31–44.Google Scholar
  6. 18.
    Louise M. Rosenblatt, ‘On the Aesthetic as the Basic Model of the Reading Process’, in Theories of Reading, Looking, Listening, ed. Harry R. Garvin (Lewisburg: Buknell University Press, 1981), pp. 21–2.Google Scholar
  7. 19.
    George L. Dillon, ‘Styles of Reading’, Poetics Today, 3/2 (1982): 77–88.Google Scholar
  8. 23.
    Gerald Prince; A Grammar of Stories (The Hague: Mouton, 1973), p. 13. See also Rimmon-Kenan, Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics, pp. 6–8.Google Scholar
  9. 24.
    David Lodge, Language of Fiction: Essays in Criticism and Verbal Analysis of the English Novel (New York: Columbia University Press, 1966) p. 78.Google Scholar
  10. 26.
    Menakhem, Perry, ‘Literary Dynamics: How the Order of a Text Creates Its Meaning’, Poetics Today, 1/1–2 (1979): 58–61.Google Scholar
  11. 38.
    Linda Flower, ‘The Construction of Purpose in Writing and Reading’, College English, 50/5 (September 1989): 539.Google Scholar
  12. 41.
    Robert Scholes, Textual Power: Literary Theory and the Teaching of English (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985), p. 24.Google Scholar
  13. 42.
    Wayne C. Booth, ‘LITCOMP’, in Composition & Literature, ed. Winifred Bryan Homer (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1983), p. 64.Google Scholar
  14. 43.
    In addition to Robert Scholes and Wayne Booth, see Winifred Bryan Homer, ed., Composition and Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983);Google Scholar
  15. 43.
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  16. 43.
    Bruce T. Petersen, ed., Convergences: Transactions in Reading and Writing (Urbana, Ill.: NCTE, 1986);Google Scholar
  17. 43.
    Ben F. Nelms, ed., Literature in the Classroom: Readers, Texts, Contexts (Urbana, Ill.: NCTE, 1988).Google Scholar
  18. 45.
    Gary Tate and Edward P.J. Corbett, ed., Teaching High School Composition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1970). Quoted, without amendment, in Edward P.J. Corbett, ‘Literature and Composition: Allies or Rivals in the Classroom?’, Composition and Literature, ed. Winifred Bryan Homer, p. 182.Google Scholar
  19. 47.
    David Bleich, ‘Reading and Writing as Social Activities’, in Convergences: Transactions in Reading and Writing, ed. Bruce T. Petersen (Urbana, Ill.: NCTE, 1986), p. 114.Google Scholar
  20. 48.
    Steve Katz, Moving Parts (New York: Fiction Collective, 1977), ‘Trip’,, pp. 73–4.Google Scholar
  21. 49.
    Mary Louise Pratt, Towards a Speech Act Theory of Literary Discourse (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1977), p. 66.Google Scholar
  22. 54.
    Wayne C. Booth, Critical Understanding: The Powers and Limits of Pluralism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979), p. 284.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Marcel Cornis-Pop 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUK

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