Interpretive Community

(1744 words)
  • Ken Newton (University of Dundee)

Stanley Fish coined the term “interpretive community” in his most famous essay, “Interpreting the Variorum”, first published in 1976. At the time he wrote this essay he was associated with “affective stylistics”, a form of criticism that gave priority to the reader in the critical process and focused on reading as a temporal activity. In that earlier stage of his thinking he saw, like reader-response critics in general, text and reader as separate entities, arguing that meanings are actualised in the process of reading and thus emerge from the interaction between the text and “the reader's expectations, projections, conclusions, judgments, and assumptions”. However, in the introduction to his book, Is There a Text in …

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Newton, Ken. "Interpretive Community". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 03 April 2006
[, accessed 20 April 2014.]