Department of English Literature, Faculty of Languages
Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
The present study is theoretically oriented proposing to re-read some major tenets of the New Critics and the reader-response critics in an attempt to reconsider the objective theory of the New Critics to test whether it is sufficient in catering for all aspects of a text. It works via the exploration of both protocols set by a number of the major founders of both theories aiming to reveal the oppositions, commonalities as well as undeclared similarities. The critical controversy will thus be brought to light, in a bid to point out the shortcomings of each approach. Throughout this exploration, the study demonstrates that the ontological approach of the New Critics becomes incomplete and doubtful. It proves that the New Critics’ ‘affective fallacy’ has sprouted the postmodern theory of the reader-response criticism where the reader is no longer a passive recipient, but an active agent who fills in the blanks and formulates meanings. Thus, the study concludes by proving that there are some commonalities between the New Critics and the Reader-response adherents highlighting the triumph of the latter in undermining the New Critics’ objectivity. The significance of the study lies in adopting the reader-response approach per se in the re-reading of the New Critics’ doctrines where the researcher comes up with new findings that testifies the crucial role of the reader/researcher in the production of new interpretations. The study concludes with some recommendations for further use.
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Dr. Alanoud Alghanem, is an assistant professor of English Literature in the Faculty of
Languages at Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University. She obtained a BA degree in 1994,
MA in 2000, and PhD in 2009 and teaches courses in English Literature and translation. Her
research interests include Irish poetry, Black British poetry and criticism.