Guide to Week 13: Tuesday

        Read Fish carefully, and when you believe you know what he is saying, click here to review some excerpts from his argument to see whether you can explain or respond to them in your own words.   We can test Fish's argument for the existence and controlling importance of "communities of interpretation" using three given interpretive contexts for the poem known as "Michael[.]"   Be aggressive and push your interpretive speculations to their limits.  On one level, the thesis of Is there a text in this class? is not very shocking.  Otherwise intelligent, competent literary analysts who belong to different communities of interpretation can disagree quite violently about the interpretation of texts, though few go so far as the "Eskimo reading" of Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" envisioned by Fish.  To read a serviceable online edition of Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily," click here.   Click here if you want to see a Chaucer passage whose interpretation has revealed critics' assumptions that produced two different "communities of interpretation," one of which believes the passage describes an innocent conversation between an uncle and his niece and the other, a not-very-subtle suggestion of incest.  Becoming an expert interpreter of literature usually requires one to learn the history of one's chosen field of specialization so that one can identify the communities of interpretation at work there, and to make intelligent choices about which ones to join or to avoid.  For an example, click here for a brief discussion of two major "communities of interpretation" that sharply divided medieval scholars' interpretations of Chaucer in the second half of the twentieth century.  For a scholarly discussion of "Standard Medieval Literature Interpretation" vs. "D. W. Robertson, Jr.," click here.  Or, if that link does not work, use the EbscoHost search engine (called "Academic Search Premier" on the library website) to look for this article: