Sunday, June 20, 2010

biographical fallacy


...it's called the biographical fallacy...

By removing the emphasis on the circumstances of the work's creation and how it fits into the artist's biography:

- the work is liberated from 'correct interpretations' based on the artist's 'intentions'

- every reader's interpretation can be considered 'correct' or 'valid'

- emphasis can be placed on how the work operates: its form

- the completed work can be liberated from all its drafts and cuts

- it liberates first person narrators especially from being considered as the author's voice:

In my opinion, these are all good things. However, like all ideas in theory, it has become too dogmatic, and the baby has been thrown out with the bathwater. In the case of the Russians, for example, I think an understanding of the writers' life, especially how the writer was interacting with the other intellectuals of his time, is essential. Much in Russian lit can only be understood in reference to contemporary debates.

( Tomcat Murr )

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