Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
It recognizes the reader as an active agent who imparts "real existence" to the work by reading it and completing its meaning "by applying codes and strategies". It is concerned with the reader's contribution to a text. It stands in total opposition to the text-oriented theories of formalism and the New Criticism, which prefer not to take into account the reader's role in interpreting literary works.
Louise M. Rosenblatt 's book, Literature as Exploration (1938) is a useful place to begin an inquiry into Reader-response criticism. She argues that it is important for the teacher to avoid imposing any "preconceived notions about the proper way to react to any work." Instead, "the student must be free to grapple with his own reaction... to be given the opportunity and the courage to approach literature personally, to let it mean something to him directly" (p. 66).
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