Chapter

Context

Derek Attridge

in The Work of Literature

Published in print March 2015 | ISBN: 9780198733195
Published online April 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191797750 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198733195.003.0006
Context

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This chapter considers the role context plays in the reading of literary works. Three different questions present themselves: (1) What is the importance of the context of the original creation of the work, and how does it operate? (2) What is the importance of the context within which the work is read, and how does it operate? (3) How does the context of the original creation enter the process of reading? These questions are examined in the light of the approach developed in this book, arguing that it is the fractures and tensions within the original context that allow the writer to apprehend the otherness that the culture excludes, and that the context of the reading operates in a similar way. The reader’s experience of inventiveness may or may not correspond to the inventiveness of the original creation; it will do so if there is sufficient historical continuity.

Keywords: context; reading; literature; inventiveness; creation; originality

Chapter.  8647 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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