[ilds] words written and read and shared

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Sat May 3 16:05:53 PDT 2008


Sorry, Bill, but I'm just dense.  I don't understand what you're saying or the point you're trying to make, which you don't elaborate on.  I will, however, make a wild guess loosely based on Saussure's formulation.  I.e., language exists as arbitrary symbols with unstable referents.  Words have variable meanings within a synchronic system, and they also change diachronically.  Meaning is inherently unstable.  Authors use words, and their intent in using those words is unknowable.  Since words belong to all speakers of a language, an author's words are up for grabs, and the readers who seize and interpret them as they choose  have an equal status with the guy who wrote them.

I see the conclusion to this crude syllogism as fallacious and do not agree with anything that follows "authors."

It amazes me that some literary critics no longer credit authors with their own words, which is what I see you, Bill, doing.  On the other hand, I guess (again) that you're amazed that I have the hubris to assume I can possibly know what Lawrence Durrell was up to.  My response to that -- careful inferences can be made and intentions recovered, within reasonable expectations.  Understanding one another in everyday circumstances is usually about making inferences based on a host of factors, linguistic and extralinguistic, and no one seems bothered by that.  We as speaking beings stumble along from day to day, communication and understanding often occur, and it seems to me criticism should strive to do the same.


Bruce



-----Original Message-----
>From: william godshalk <godshawl at email.uc.edu>
>Sent: May 3, 2008 10:15 AM
>To: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>, ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Subject: words written and read and shared
>
>Actually, Bruce, you are reading the words contained in the OED. 
>These words do not belong to any particular reader or writer.
>
>Durrell took these words and put them in to form.
>
>But he's dead.
>
>And all you have is words, words, words.
>
>If you admire the form of the words, good.
>
>But a dead author is a dead author -- whether you like to read her or 
>him, or not.
>
>You can't share a beer with Larry and ask him what he thinks. And 
>listen to him lie.
>
>At 01:05 PM 5/3/2008, you wrote:
>>Bill,
>>
>>I'm reading the words of authors.  I'm not reading readers who read words.
>>
>>
>>Bruce
>>
>>
>>-----Original Message-----
>> >From: william godshalk <godshawl at email.uc.edu>
>> >Sent: May 3, 2008 10:01 AM
>> >To: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>, ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>> >Subject: Re: [ilds] Author v. Reader
>> >
>> >Bruce,
>> >
>> >Durrell is dead, gone, kaput.
>> >
>> >What remains?
>> >
>> >Words.
>> >
>> >Who must read the words?
>> >
>> >Readers.



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