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February 1994


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"Gloria Monti (GD 1995)" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 24 Feb 1994 11:01:12 -0400
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> >   ... I want to exercise my spectatorial resistance and disregard
> > author's intentionality (which guarantees no reception).  However, I like
> > Jane Campion's woman's look--it is one that I am willing to embrace.
> >
> um, sorry for being contentious (as no one has asked me not to be) but if
> we disregard the author's intention, what are we interpreting?  where is
> meaning for you (any of you)?  in the text?  in your response?  no-one's
> been able to successfully explain this "death of the author" thing to me.....
> i'd be interested in getting a discussion thread going on this.
        Dear Jim--fellow Iowan :-)
        Right when I wanted to respond to you with *the* two texts on the
death of the author, DKS beat me. :-(
        And you are borrowing the words of Chris White too!  Sure, be
contentious, make my day.
        What are we interpreting then, if not the author's intention?  The
*text.*   I guess the difference lies in the fact that the second
interpretation opens up a multiple array of meanings, all equally valid.
The first imposes one meaning--the author's on the text you are looking
at.  I always tell my students that if they see it, it's there.  I think
the text becomes more interesting this way, it becomes all the texts that
all the different readers make it.
        I have an anecdote which you might find interesting.  I was at a
screening of Marco Bellocchio's *Il Diavolo in Corpo/Devil in the Flesh*
in 1989 in Florence--the director was in the theater.  I raised my hand
and gave him a spiel about a reading I had come up about a "certain
tendency" of Italian cinema in the Sixties that I had termed "Fists in the
Pockets."  I made a claim that a number of films by Pasolini, Bellocchio,
Bertolucci, Visconti, Antonioni exhibited common traits.  I nice little
theory that I was working through with my students.  I asked him to
comment on that and he completely refuted it.  He refuted what I had to
say about his film and how I thought it fit this model.  The author
policed my reading of his work, imagine that.  I guess that according to
your interpretation I should have disregarded my reading as being invalid.
        My question to you is, should I, because he says so?  Does my
reading cease to exist because it does not conform to that of the author?
        What I told me students, who were there with me, instead was, who
cares what the author thinks?  I care what we--as readers think.
        How's the Iowa sky?
        Gloria Monti