Synopses & Reviews
Using the 180-year history of Keats'sEve of St. Agnes as a basis for theorizing about the reading process, Stillinger's book explores the nature and whereabouts of "meaning" in complex works. A proponent of authorial intent, Stillinger argues a theoretical compromise between author and reader, applying a theory of interpretive democracy that includes the endlessly multifarious reader's response as well as Keats's guessed-at intent. Stillinger also considers the process of constructing meaning, and posits an answer to why Keats's work is considered canonical, and why it is still being read and admired.
"It is a very suggestive book, scholarly yet unfussy and broad-minded; it ranges patiently round the great questions and manages to be progressive and reactionary at once (as its author happily acknowledges on p. ix). It might even set the cat among the pigeons, a prime function of criticism."--Modern Philology
Using the 180-year history of John Keats's "The Eve of St. Agnes" as a basis for theorizing about the reading process, this book explores the nature and whereabouts of "meaning" in complex works.