Stanley Fish on Augustine: Reader-response theory as rhetorical faith.

Stanley Fish on Augustine: Reader-response theory as rhetorical faith.

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Title: Stanley Fish on Augustine: Reader-response theory as rhetorical faith.
Author: Donnelly, Phillip Johnathan.
Abstract: This thesis examines how Stanley Fish presents an apologia for his theory of reader-response by privileging the notion of "faith." Although Fish ultimately rejects the interpretive approaches of Saint Augustine and John Milton, his own conception of "faith" is itself drawn from a conflation of Augustinian and Miltonic theological discourse. Fish argues that because all readers (as members of interpretive communities) must always employ some kind of interpretive strategy which actually constitutes their perceptions, the notion of an objective "fact" or "text" is illusory. Part of the strength in Fish's position derives from structuring each of his arguments in such a way that all attempts to challenge his specific literary or historical claims only serve to support his more general conclusion that such issues are always debatable. As a result, his arguments consistently end up making claims that are somehow independent of their specific literary or historical content. This thesis attempts an extremely "slow" reading of Fish's use of Augustine, in order to understand precisely how Fish extricates his position from any dependence upon the actual content of his own interpretation of Augustine. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)
Date: 1996
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/9596

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