Lecture 7: What is text?

Text ‘To weave’- involves linguistic structures

  • Written/ printed work (not limited to physical form —> content important as well”
  • “Medium is the message” – McLuhan

Rosetta Stone- key to other texts, used to translate different languages

Cave Painting- way of communicating using symbology

  • “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously”
  • Grammatically correct (but with no meaning/ substance)
  • Text is not only grammar
  • Text must portray message

Contrast to “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

Has random linguistic structure, but with meaning

‘Text’- not restrained to a single medium (extends across versions of literacy incld. but not limited to novels, scrolls, letter etc.)

Text vs Work

  • Work is a whole product (commutative with a deliberate structure) —> Changes w/ culture
  • Text is within the language (centred around a certain thinking pattern/ message)
  • Capital ’T’ text= all texts written throughout time
  • Doesn’t discriminate against language or form/ style necessarily

“The Author is Dead” 

  • Argues against the intentions & biography of author as important interpretation
  • Author is modern figure & product of middle Ages & English empiricism
  • Writer sought for the e explanation of the text giving it a single, definitive meaning

“Birth of the Reader” 

  • Author & text unrelated so that reader interprets and relays
  • You need to write to be able to understand readings on a different, multidimensional level

Electronic Literature 

  • Written texts on a different medium
  • Still has meaning & tries to portray a message
  • Style is different, but value of text is still equal to printed
  • Meaning is something derived from interaction between reader & text (across time periods)
  • Approach in the context that it is written not necessarily your one opinion/ interpretation of it

Critical Reading 

  • Subjective response to text considering content & feeling associated with
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