Where Feeling Is Absent

"The meaning of a story should go on expanding for the reader the more he thinks about it, but meaning cannot be captured in an interpretation. If teachers are in the habit of approaching a story as if it were a research problem for which any answer is believable so long as it is not obvious, then I think students will never learn to enjoy fiction. Too much interpretation is certainly worse than too little, and where feeling for a story is absent, theory will not supply it. My tone is not meant to be obnoxious. I am in a state of shock."

~Flannery O'Connor via a question on Goodreads


Mind Of Mine said…
This reminds me of my English Teacher, Mrs.Leonard. She thought me to enjoy reading, to not over think it, to enjoy it for what it is. Thanks for this.
Chris said…
I am a branch of the continental European, ballbreaking formalist tree. I like my theory, my criticism, and my overanalytical thinking. Society needs that just like it needs doctors and soldiers and teachers.

I also like my boy Gilles Deleuze, who said (I paraphrase) that we've spent too much time treating works of literature as patients lying on our couch and waiting for us to figure out their malady (and cure?), instead of seeing them as analysts, pointing out what is dysfunctional in our world. If you do it right, interpretation can take you far. Dialogue takes you even farther.
Writer said…
You're welcome, Mind of Mine. Reading is one of the only times I don't feel that I'm over-thinking things. :)
Writer said…
Chris, I think I like your boy Gilles too. Lord knows, my reading gets me through so much more stuff than anything else. :)

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