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Theoretical preliminaries to literary text interpretation ()
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Theoretical preliminaries to literary text interpretation

 

Plan

 

1. Approaches to interpretation of a literary text.

 

2. Elements of a literary work. Formal and poetic layers.

 

3. The theory of foregrounding. Foregrounding and automatization.

 

1. There are two main approaches to the analysis and interpretation of

literature:

 

a) from the standpoint of the author and

 

b) from the standpoint of the reader.

 

The first approach is concerned with the study of the factors that have

influenced the writer and affected his work of art. Among these factors

are: the historical and political situation at the time of creation, the

authors philosophical and aesthetic views, the historical situation of

the period his work represents, etc. The approach can be traced in the

course of History of Literature.

 

The second approach attaches importance to the study of the text itself

and its impact on the reader. It involves the analysis of the elements

of the text which evoke definite emotional response and affect the

general impression. It is the second approach that we attempt to follow

while interpreting literature. In each reader, a literary work evokes

some personal associations, images and thoughts.

 

Recreating the images in his own imagination, receiving the

impressions, the reader is at the same time to pass judgements upon

them, to get through the images to the authors outlook, to the

so-called image of the author reflected in his writings. An interpreter

is to get at the writers message which can be both explicitly expressed

through particular language means and only implied through elusive

images. The effect a literary text produces on the reader may be

ambiguous and diverse.

 

The message that a literary work conveys is expressed both

linguistically and extralinguistically. Every character, every event,

every bit of dialogue, every figure of speech contributes to the general

effect. To comprehend and interpret a literary work, therefore, one

should be sensitive to the authors way of balancing both the linguistic

and extralinguistic elements to stir the readers imagination, touch his

heart and excite his mind.

 

Though the material of literature is l-ge, language items in the

context of fiction acquire additional overtones, thus developing a great

suggestive power. It mainly depends on the writers skill and his style.

D. Lodge in his book Language of fiction (1966) wrote: Style is the

means by which the writer ensures that his message is decoded in such

a way that the reader not only understands the information conveyed, but

shares the writers attitude towards it.

 

2. The impact of a literary work, as it has already been stated,

depends on all the elements constituting it. N. Sharova considers words,

phrases, sentences, paragraphs, chapters to be elements of the verbal

(or formal) layer of a literary work.

 

Plot, theme, genre, imagery make up the poetic layer.

 

The verbal and poetic layers form a unity. Therefore, all the events in

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