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Protocols of Reading

Protocols of Reading

Robert Scholes
Copyright Date: 1989
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 175
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  • Book Info
    Protocols of Reading
    Book Description:

    Discussing a wide range of literary theory in a clear and accessible way, prize-winning author Robert Scholes here continues his ongoing construction of a humane semiotic approach to the problems of reading, writing, and teaching. Taking the view that "all the world's a text," Scholes considers numerous texts from life and literature, including photographs, paintings, and television commercials as well as biographies and novels."A significant and thoughtful effort to think about the responsibilities of reading in the wake of deconstruction."-ChoiceProtocols of Readingis a personal, avuncular book, attractive in its common sense and brevity."-Wendy Steiner,Times Literary Supplement"A complex argument developed in delightful plain English,Protocols of Readingsees both textual fundamentalism and deconstructive debunking as needful opposites in an oscillation that Scholes labels nihilistic hermeneutics. Fine-tuning this oscillation is what the humanistic enterprise is all about, he suggests; it is our key to the true connection between reading and ethics."-Richard A. Lanham, University of California, Los AngelesRobert Scholes, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities at Brown University, is also the author ofTextual Power: Literary Theory and the Teaching of English;Semiotics and Interpretation; andStructuralism in Literature: An Introduction

    eISBN: 978-0-300-16072-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. One Reading: An Intertextual Activity
    (pp. 1-49)

    Though this whole book will be an attempt to say what reading is and what it should be, I cannot begin without proposing some preliminary notion of reading, however inadequate it may prove to be in the long run. In our ordinary speech acts we mention reading all the time. We say that we read books and magazines and newspapers, to be sure, but we also speak of trying to read a person’s expression or motives, and it is common, for instance, to speak of a quarterback or defensive captain on a football team trying to read the alignment opposing...

  5. Two Interpretation: The Question of Protocols
    (pp. 50-88)

    Interpretation is a problem because human beings live in time. The person who reads a text is never the person who wrote it—even if they are the “same” person. To the extent that our reading is a rewriting of the text, along the lines developed in chapter 1, this is not a problem. The reader as writer proceeds by constructing metaphors, metonymies, and causalities: developing his or her own metatext. But reading is also—and always—an attempt to grasp meanings that are not ours, meanings that are interesting precisely because they come from outside us. In reading we...

  6. Three Criticism: Rhetoric and Ethics
    (pp. 89-156)

    Our distance from Hegel may perhaps be measured by the reluctance of our most subtle and rigorous thinkers to accept any universal or absolute as demonstrable by textual means. Derrida, like Nietzsche in his aphorism about the death of God, has simply expressed what was being thought around him, though his formulation has an impressive air of clarity and conviction. The absolute, says Derrida, is outside textuality—but there is no outside to textuality. Therefore, the absolute is nothing, ordifferance, a nonconcept too elusive for any universal to rest upon it. If the confrontation between Sophist and Socratist keeps...

  7. Works Cited
    (pp. 157-160)
  8. Index
    (pp. 161-164)