Book! you lie there; the fact is, you books must know your places. You'll do to give us the bare words and facts, but we come in to supply the thoughts.
King: I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet; these words are not mine.
Hamlet: No, nor mine now.
Hamlet: No, nor mine now.
When I left the politicians, I went to the poets; tragic, dithyrambic, and all sorts. And there, I said to myself, you will be detected; now you will find out that you are more ignorant than they are. Accordingly, I took them some of the most elaborate passages in their own writings, and asked what was the meaning of them - thinking that they would teach me something. Will you believe me? I am almost ashamed to speak of this, but still I must say that there is hardly a person present who would not have talked better about their poetry than they did themselves. That showed me in an instant that not by wisdom do poets write poetry, but by a sort of genius and inspiration; they are like diviners or soothsayers who also say many fine things, but do not understand the meaning of them.
— Plato, Apology of Socrates
Every fiction should have a moral; and, what is more to the purpose, the critics have discovered that every fiction has.
For the Third World to have allowed itself drifted by such pontification as Barthes’ would have meant the production of literature without the values of meaning. (…) if colonial texts propagated justification of the sentiments of colonialism, it would just be logical in the imagining of the colonized, say India, to express its own counter-sentiments. Therefore, origin, which implies history, memory, representation, passion as well as society─ all features denied by Barthes─ must play an important role in the identification of the Third World literature. The import of this is simply that the author from this part of the world must remain alive to convey meaning to his people.
— Senayon Olaolua in the essay, The Author Never Dies: Roland Barthes and the Postcolonial Project
There is an impression abroad that literary folk are fast readers. Wine tasters are not heavy drinkers. Literary people read slowly because they sample the complex dimensions and flavors of words and phrases. They strive for totality not lineality. They are well aware that the words on the page have to be decanted with the utmost skill. Those who imagine they read only for "content" are illusioned.
I don't know who wrote this essay, but he obviously doesn't know the first thing about Kurt Vonnegut!
— Dr. Turner on an essay written by Kurt Vonnegut, Back to School
All worthy work is open to interpretations the author did not intend. Art isn't your pet — it's your kid. It grows up and talks back to you.
As for our intentions, well, that's all bunk. We may intend our music for one person or another, but who's to say? I can't decide who reads my novel or buys my record. Look what that did for Jonathon Franzen, who snubbed Oprah for liking his book. It's an arrogant, imperialist motive to try to determine who will receive you and who won't.
The artist usually sets out — or used to — to point a moral and adorn a tale. The tale, however, points the other way, as a rule. Two blankly opposing morals, the artist's and the tale's. Never trust the artist. Trust the tale. The proper function of a critic is to save the tale from the artist who created it.
— D.H. Lawrence
...authors seldom understand what they write. That is why we have critics.
— James Hurst, on being asked what his short story "The Scarlet Ibis" was about.
The critic on the morning paper said of my first play: "Inept." The critic on the afternoon paper said: "Drivel." Both reviews totally misunderstood the play. The critic on the morning paper said of my second play: "Pretentious." The critic on the afternoon paper said: "Abhorrent." Both reviews totally misunderstood the play. The critic on the morning paper said of my third play: "A Smash Hit!" The critic on the afternoon paper said: "A Triumph!" Both reviews totally misunderstood the play.
They are now misunderstanding to my advantage. In the arts, that's known as success.
They are now misunderstanding to my advantage. In the arts, that's known as success.
— Jules Feiffer cartoon.
What it comes down to is my interpretation of my work is really immaterial. I'm not really a believer in art or music being institutionalized or put in galleries and stuff like that. I think art is something for the use of the public. It's for the public to interpret it, and to use it almost like a sustenance to life. It's the interpretation of the listener or the viewer which is all-important.
The birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author.
— Roland Barthes, "The Death of the Author"
I love it when someone tells ME what goes on in SotS... I find it so educational.
— Martin "Mecron" Cirulis
The beauty of music is that it's so open to the interpretation of the listener. I've said over and over again that the intent of the writer is so much less important than the interpretation of the listener.
— Michael Stipe, R.E.M.
"Books belong to their readers."
— John Green, often enough that he's started abbreviating it to BBTTR.
"I think that many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory'; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author."
"... What "Birth of a Nation" offers, even more than a vision of history, is a template for the vast, world-embracing capabilities of the cinema. It provided extraordinarily powerful tools for its own refutation. The real crime was not Griffith’s, but the world’s: the fact that most viewers knew little about slavery and little about Reconstruction and little about Jim Crow and little about the Klan, and were all too ready to swallow the very worst of the movie without question. They saw only what Griffith wanted to say but not what the movie showed, and, upon seeing what Griffith showed, were ready to take up arms in anger."
— The New Yorker critic Richard Brody about The Birth of a Nation (1915), The Worst Thing About “Birth of a Nation” Is How Good It Is
Personally, I take no satisfaction in imagining meaning where there is none. I’m not the type to stare at orange blotches on a canvas and ponder the universe. Either it’s got solid, intelligent ideas embedded in it, or it’s nonsense. Subjectivity isn’t a virtue. If my theories are wrong — if Kojima would fully acknowledge and shoot down what I’ve written – I would lose most of my respect for the game. The interpretation is key, because there’s a world of difference between a masterful metafiction disguised as an incoherent mess, and an incoherent mess that tries and fails to be a masterful metafiction.
"While you might be right, it doesn't invalidate any of the analyzing being done. Creator's intent doesn't matter that much in such matters. Everyone is free to interpret art as they want."
The bard leaned back, retrieving his tankard. 'It begins with you,' he said. 'And it ends with you. Your eyes to witness, your thoughts alone. Tell me of no one's mind, presume nothing of their workings. You and I, we tell nothing, we but show.'
"I would love to live in a world where Dancer Taking A Bow wasn't painted by a vicious anti-semite, where Imagine wasn't written by an inveterate wife beater, and where Annie Hall wasn't directed by a monstrous child rapist!"
(...) I think that's especially important with a film like Blade Runner, which is, as a work full of symbolism and style, much more than just about, ´´What does this mean?´´, but rather, ´´What does this mean to me?´´ To you, when the windows blocks out the sun it might symbolize another aspect of Tyrell's godlike powers. To me, he just prefers Smart Windows over blinds.
As a film just shy of thirty years old there's also the fact that changes in culture can affect what we see and interpret. As time moves on any work of art can say something to us today that differs greatly from what the author way trying to say at the time. Does that mean that we're mistaken in what we hear or is it valid to say that the echoes of our own thoughts, values and fears is as much a part of what we take away from art as the imagery itself. If what was said is not the same as what was heard, does that mean that the emotion felt, the thought provoked, the impetuous planted, are wrong?
I don't think so. As long as we distinguish between what the artist said and what the art said to me, the difference between: ´´I see this as a representation of femininity´´ versus ´´Thus the artist is a misogynist´´.
''What I remember most vividly was the time I had the temerity during one of the rehersals to suggest a different phrasing to one of the pros. She lowered her violin, turned to me and said icily, ´´We usually prefer it when the composer is dead.´´
— Peter Schickele on his early composing days at Swarthmore.
Juan Oregon, a man from Alicante (Spain), 47, announced last Friday that he was terminating the process of writing his first novel, which he has been working at since last January. The novel he has written is "Light in August", the immortal work published in 1932 by American author William Faulkner.
"It is his first novel and he writes ‘Light in August’ by William Faulkner, nothing more, nothing less," the proud wife of this administrative assistant said to the press. Oregon, which has been already stated as the great promise of the Spanish letters, began his literary activity “unpretentiously" earlier this year.
"For Faulkner this was his seventh novel, however my husband has written it at his first try," insists the wife.
"Look, he could have written any work of Terence Moix or anyone else’s mediocrity, but no, he goes and writes a novel by Faulkner, William Faulkner. I love Faulkner and in this country we all feel genuine devotion by Faulkner," the woman reiterated, sparing no praise for her husband, who was something flushed.
The book, which is identical, word for word, the translation of "Light in August" Peter Leucona did for Goyanarte publishing in 1952, and that is being currently published by Alfaguara publishing, could mark the narrative of Spain just like Faulkner determined the evolution of American literature.
"The novel is exceptional, truly exceptional, something out of the ordinary," says Antonia Cifuentes, editor of Catedra publishing and one of the few people who had access to Juan’s manuscript.
According to her, the novel is as good as the one written by Faulkner but with the added value that a Spanish man has been able to write the "Great American Novel" without leaving Alicante.
"It matters who controls the narrative. Lewis says Susan was vein and conceited, Lewis says Susan cared only about material things and appearances, Lewis says Susan was a “rather silly” young woman. But did anyone ask Susan? What was Susan’s story? Where is Susan’s voice? It’s absent. She’s silent. She is given no opportunity to defend herself, to tell her side of the story. And that, quite frankly, is why many young women in my situation identify with Susan. It’s not that we didn’t realize Lewis said Susan’s problem was conceit. It’s that we know what it’s like to have authority figures lie about what happened to us."