Wolfgang Iser

(3406 words)
  • Tom Van Imschoot (University of Ghent )

Of all literary theorists who gained prominence in the second half of the 20th century, Wolfgang Iser is among those who most rigorously confronted the question why we need the inessential form of fiction called “literature” and how literary theory might provide us with a way to disclose its function. Starting out with reflecting on how literature functions as a medium of interaction between the context from which it emerges, and a reader who makes the literature concrete, Iser contributed to the development of literary theory by turning literature itself into a mode of reflection. In this so-called “Wirkungsästhetik” [“aesthetics of effect”] he conceived of the literary text as a structure that elicits aesthetic …

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Van Imschoot, Tom. "Wolfgang Iser". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 November 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=2316, accessed 29 June 2016.]