What happens when we read novels and how do we make sense of them? Inge Wimmers explores these questions by developing a flexible poetics of reading that generously opens up the interpretive space between reader and text, while drawing on current theories of reading and combining rhetorical, pragmatic, and phenomenological approaches. "Poetics," here, is extended beyond the study of purely textual features to structures of exchange between text and reader. In a discussion of four major French novels from the seventeenth century to the present, the author not only sets up a broad-based poetics but also makes important contributions to contemporary issues in the study of narrative. Wimmers introduces the concept of multiple, interlocking frames of reference that allows for the integration of diverse critical perspectives. Analyzing La Princesse de Cleves, Madame Bovary, A la recherche du temps perdu, and Projet pour une revolution a New York, she shows how texts provide some frames of reference, while others are produced by the reader's disposition and cultural milieu.
Originally published in 1989.
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