Monday, February 2, 2009

RE: Different Strokes (and a Bit of Other Things)

Nabokov states that, "[s]ince the master artist used his imagination in creating his book, it is natural and fair that the consumer of a book should use his imagination too," implying a novel establishes a give-and-take, "artistic harmonious" relationship between the author and the reader. Yes, this article focuses mostly on the writing and reading of fiction, but be imaginative as readers and pretend this standard is meant to be applied to all works of literature.

If we consider "She's Not Me" as a "nontraditional" form of literature, as Kevin has suggested, than by this one criterion alone, the song must be considered a poem of true literary merit, as it is bound to strike up some sort of emotional connection between Madonna and another individual based on lyrical content alone (I'm going to ignore the musical aspect since that's something else entirely). After all, Rachael's lunchbox-less eight-year-old cannot be discarded.

Deanna also points out another matter entirely, namely that "She's Not Me" was most likely written, performed, and produced entirely for financial profit. Is it possible for a work with an unwholesome (for lack of a better term) origin to truly be called a work of quality? How important is the author's intention when evaluating the greatness of his or her literary work? Then, must the intention be "pure" or may we evaluate it solely based upon its efficacy in reaching its intended goal? Of course, as Meredith(?) pointed out in class, we may not always be able to confirm that what we are gleaning from a text is what the author originally intended. In that case, what really matters is the meaning the reader infuses into the text, which brings us back to the whole Eye of the Beholder saga which many seem to agree with.

I think my intention is getting muddled up in this sea of rhetorical questions, so I'll basically boil this down into one: Which is more important? The authors intent in writing a work or the meaning the reader takes away from it?

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