The Conditions Required to Enable the Reader to Approach a Text

By Gilly Perel-Dayan.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

What prerequisites are necessary for the reader to approach a new text? Must the reader be familiar with the world of the author? Should the information be gathered before approaching the text itself? Another point that must be clarified is whether simple mastery of the language in which the text is written is enough to enable a dialogue with the text unhampered by prior knowledge. What knowledge does the writer of a text assume that the reader holds? This question is the basis of all interpretation. Is the ability to read the language of the text sufficient? Also does the understanding of a language actually include a prior knowledge of tradition and cultural circles that are created within the same understanding of its linguistic signals? What agents are present during the first engagement between reader and text and is their existence an essential condition or one option of many? Does H. G. Gadamer’s hermeneutics offer the reader satisfactory tools to approach a text whose intention is to lay the groundwork for interpretation?

Keywords: Reading Text, Dialogue Between Reader and Text, H.G. Gadamer, Language and Culture, Interpretive Practice, Traditions and Prejudices

International Journal of the Book, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.79-86. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.127MB).

Gilly Perel-Dayan

Student-Recheacher, Interdisciplinary Unit, Hermeneutics and Cultural Studies, Bar-Ilan University, Petach Tikva, Ramat Gan, Israel

For more than 15 years I have been translated-editor (English-Hebrew). My PhD. Thesis examined the modes of representation of the literary interpretive process made by using the Gadamerian device of dialectic dialogue between the subject-reader and object-text as a basis for reading texts. This research explores through the textual corpus of Nurit Zarchi, whom combined in her writing poetry, literature, assays, and texts for children. During the study in Bar Ilan University, Israel, I have been participating in an Art Based Research group at The Israeli Center for Qualitative Research, at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel. The group unites researchers whose work touches, or is based upon, paintings, drawings, drama, film, dance, song, photographs, all kinds of texts. The group aims at providing support in the difficult process of dealing with an artwork as a collection of data, a theme, a research methodology, or as a final product of research.

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