Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Norman Holland's Reader Response Criticism

In 1968, Norman Holland drew on psychoanalytic psychology in The Dynamics of Literary Response to model the literary work. Each reader introjects a fantasy "in" the text, then modifies it by defense mechanisms into an interpretation. In 1973, however, having recorded responses from real readers, Holland found variations too great to fit this model in which responses are mostly alike but show minor individual variations.

Holland then developed a second model based on his case studies 5 Readers Reading. An individual has (in the brain) a core identity theme (behaviors then becoming understandable as a theme and variations as in music). This core gives that individual a certain style of being--and reading. Each reader uses the physical literary work plus invariable codes (such as the shapes of letters) plus variable canons (different "interpretive communities", for example) plus an individual style of reading to build a response both like and unlike other readers' responses. Holland worked with others at the State University of New York at Buffalo, Murray Schwartz, David Willbern, and Robert Rogers, to develop a particular teaching format, the "Delphi seminar," designed to get students to "know themselves".