Front cover image for Before reading : narrative conventions and the politics of interpretation

Before reading : narrative conventions and the politics of interpretation

Overview: How does what we know shape the ways we read? Starting from the premise that any productive theory of narrative must take into account the presuppositions the reader brings to the text, Before Reading explores how our prior knowledge of literary conventions influences the processes of interpretation and evaluation
Print Book, English, 1987
Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1987
xi, 249 pages ; 23 cm.
9780801494727, 9780801420108, 0801494729, 0801420105
Introduction: Beyond readings/before reading
Part 1: Narrative Conventions:
1: Starting points
What is reading?
Who is reading?
Value(s) of authorial reading
Difficulties of authorial reading
Rules of reading
2: Trumpets, please! : rules of notice
Hierarchy of detail
Basic gestures of noticeability
Privileged positions
Rules of rupture
3: Biggest black eyes I ever saw: rules of signification
Signification defined
Rules of source
Good guys and bad guys: rules of snap moral judgment
Truth and the narrative audience: the rule of realism
Post hoc and propter hoc: rules of cause
4: Black cloud on the horizon: rules of configuration
Configuration vs coherence
Basic rules of configuration
Rules of undermining
Rules of balance: focus
Rules of balance: action
5: Austere simplicity of fiction: rules of coherence
Nature of coherence
License to fill
Rules of surplus
Rules of naming, bundling, and thermatizing
Part 2: Politics Of Interpretation:
6: Through The Glass Key darkly: presupposition and misunderstanding
Presuppositions and the ambiguity of interpretation
Getting to the bottom of things
Popular fiction as a genre
Scapegoating Carmen: reading misreadings
7: Some have greatness thrust upon them: the politics of canon formation
Selected bibliography