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The French word for ‘legible’, used in a specific sense by the critic Roland Barthes in his book S/Z (1970), and usually translated as ‘readerly’ or ‘readable’. Barthes applies this term to texts (usually of the realist tradition) that involve no true participation from the reader other than the consumption of a fixed meaning. A readerly text can be understood easily in terms of already familiar conventions and expectations, and is thus reassuringly ‘closed’. By contrast, the textescriptible (‘writerly’ text, usually modernist) challenges the reader to produce its meanings from an ‘open’ play of possibilities. See alsojouissance.

Subjects: Literature.

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