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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: September ::
Authorial Intention
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0588  Monday, 10 September 2007

From: 		Larry Weiss <
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Date: 		Friday, 07 Sep 2007 13:00:30 -0400
Subject: 	Authorial Intention

"The state of a man's mind is as much a fact as the state of his 
digestion" (O.W. Holmes, Jr.)

When John Drakakis says that it is "futile" to attempt to discern what 
an author intended by his writings, just exactly what is he telling us? 
  (If there is a conundrum buried in that question, so be it.)  Is he 
saying:

(1) All the author left us were words, words, words; meaningless place 
holders that we need to fill with significance of our own devising;

(2) Texts are frequently ambiguous -- sometimes deliberately, sometimes 
inadvertently;

(3) The exact impact which the author expected the text to have on his 
audience cannot be determined because of such factors as cultural 
evolution, philological changes, etc.;

(4) A person's mental operations are inherently obscure and cannot be 
confidently assigned even if he tells us what they are;

(5) All of the above:

(6) Some of the above;

(7) Something different?

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