The emergence of pragmatic philosophy's influence on literary theory: Making meaning with texts from a transactional perspective

Educational Theory 58 (1):103-122 (2008)
Abstract
In this review essay, Jeanne Connell examines the influence of pragmatic philosophy on the scholarly works of twentieth‐century literary theorist and English educator Louise Rosenblatt through the lens of a recent collection of her essays originally published between 1936 and 1999. Rosenblatt grounded her transactional theory of literature in pragmatic philosophy, particularly the epistemological constructs of John Dewey. While influential as a pioneer in the early development of reader‐response theory, Rosenblatt’s theory has only recently been given attention by philosophers of education. Making Meaning with Texts: Selected Essays is an important collection of articles and book chapters that highlights the evolution of her thinking in literary theory, pedagogy, and literary criticism. Rosenblatt positioned the construction of meaning in the personal lived‐through quality of the literary experience, making central the generative relation between the text and the reader. Connell argues that the educational relevance of Rosenblatt’s theory for contemporary education is that it provides a powerful critique of classroom approaches that promote shallow readings with little opportunity for critical reflection
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