Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Idea: Disentanglement: A New Form of Literary Criticism

Disclaimer: In absolutely no way do I advocate this as an actual form of literary criticism. But if you're searching for a peculiar outlook for your literary critic character then look no further.

Did you think that "Death of the Author" was as bad as it could get?

Well, you were wrong. Literary disentanglement picks up where Death of the Author left off.

If Death of the Author says that the creator cannot comment on his completed work, then we find that there is one more step that we can take. The author's commentary on his work is made of his words, just as his work is, and both are products of his mind. Death of the Author falls short in supposing that there is any difference between the two: the work itself is as valid as the author's commentary and, thus, just as invalid.

Death of the Author assumes that the author is incapable of properly commenting on his work and yet capable of bringing it forth as it should be in the first place. Disentanglement theory recognizes that he can do neither, and the work that he produced is flawed. The process of disentanglement is the process of perfecting it: the critic carefully analyzes the work to excise those words, paragraphs, chapters, and even characters that do not truly belong in the work and grafts material that should have been there from the beginning but was not, on account of the incompetence of the author.

This new, perfected version of the work, the work as it should have been all along, is what the critic comments upon. The author may protest that it is not what he wrote, but one does not favor a child's scribble over the very sun that it depicts, and even so the critic does not waste his time with the half-formed block but sets his sights fully upon the Adonis that he has carefully freed.

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