Reception theory


Reception theory

Reception theory is a version of reader response literary theory that emphasizes the reader's reception of a literary text. In literature, it originated from the work of Hans-Robert Jauss in the late 1960s. Reception theory was at its most influential during the 1970s and early 1980s in Germany and USA (Fortier 132), amongst some notable work in Western Europe.

This approach to textual analysis focuses on the scope for "negotiation" and "opposition" on the part of the audience. This means that a "text"—be it a book, movie, or other creative work—is not simply passively accepted by the audience, but that the reader / viewer interprets the meanings of the text based on their individual cultural background and life experiences. In essence, the meaning of a text is not inherent within the text itself, but is created within the relationship between the text and the reader.

Therefore a basic acceptance of the meaning of a specific text tends to occur when a group of readers have a shared cultural background and interpret the text in similar ways.

It is likely that the less shared heritage a reader has with the artist, the less he/she will be able to recognise the artist's intended meaning, and it follows that if two readers have vastly different cultural and personal experiences, their reading of a text will vary greatly.

Cultural theorist Stuart Hall is one of the main proponents of reception theory, and developed Hall's Theory of encoding and decoding.

Reception theory has since been extended to the spectators of performative events—predominantly theatre. Susan Bennett is often credited with beginning this discourse within theatre.

See also

* Reception history

Further reading

* Amacher, Richard, and Victor Lange, eds. "New Perspectives in German Literary Criticism". Princeton: Princeton UP, 1979.
* Bennett, Susan, eds. "Theatre Audiences: A Theory of Production and Reception". New York: Routledge, 1990.
* Fortier, Mark. "Theory / Theatre: An Introduction". 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2002.
* Hohendahl, Peter Uwe. "Introduction to Reception Aesthetics." "New German Critique" 10 (1977): 29-63.
* Holub, Robert C. "Crossing Borders: Reception Theory, Poststructuralism, Deconstruction". Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1992.
* Holub, Robert C. "Reception Theory: A Critical Introduction". London: Methuen, 1984.
* Iser, Wolfgang. "The Act of Reading: A Theory of Aesthetic Response". Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1978.
* Jauss, Hans Robert. "Aesthetic Experience and Literary Hermeneutics". Trans. Michael Shaw. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1982.
* Jauss, Hans Robert. "Toward an Aesthetic of Reception". Trans. Timothy Bahti. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1982.

External links

* [http://www.participations.org/ "Participations - The International Journal of Audience and Reception Studies"]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • reception theory — noun The idea that the way in which the audience of a film, performance, etc or the reader of a text responds to it is an important component of its meaning • • • Main Entry: ↑reception …   Useful english dictionary

  • Reception — is a noun form of receiving , or to receive something, such as information, art, experience, or people. It is often used in the following contexts:*in telecommunications, the action of an electronic receiver, such as for radio or remote control… …   Wikipedia

  • Reception history — According to Harold Marcuse ( [http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/receptionhist.htm] ), reception history is the history of the meanings that have been imputed to historical events. It traces the different ways in which participants,… …   Wikipedia

  • Theory of multiple intelligences — Human intelligence Abilities and Traits Abstract thought Communication · Creativity Emotional Intelligence Kn …   Wikipedia

  • Reception history of Jane Austen — The reception history of Jane Austen s works follows a path from modest fame to wild popularity. Jane Austen, an early nineteenth century British novelist, authored works such as Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Emma (1815). Her novels have become… …   Wikipedia

  • Audience theory — is an element of thinking that developed within academic literary theory and cultural studies. With a specific focus on rhetoric, some, such as Walter Ong, have suggested that the audience is a construct made up by the rhetoric and the rhetorical …   Wikipedia

  • critical theory —    Critical theory in Spain can be divided into two interrelated areas: academic criticism as developed in the universities, and criticism disseminated by the mass media. Academic criticism has moved from structuralist models, which concentrate… …   Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture

  • Hall's Theory — of encoding and decoding is a theory of reception theory, developed by Stuart Hall.According to the theory, audiences can have three different reactions to a media text, whether it be a film, documentary or newspaper:# Dominant, or Preferred,… …   Wikipedia

  • Criticism of relativity theory — Criticism of Albert Einstein s theory of relativity was mainly expressed in the early years after its publication on a scientific, pseudoscientific, philosophical, or ideological basis. Reasons for criticism were, for example, alternative… …   Wikipedia

  • Vibration theory of olfaction — The Vibration theory of smell proposes that a molecule s smell character is due to its vibrational frequency in the infrared range. The theory is opposed to the more widely accepted shape theory of olfaction, which proposes that a molecule s… …   Wikipedia