Famous quotes explained: « The work exposes, the man disposes », Criticism and truth, Roland Barthes, 1966.
Roland Barthes (1915-1980), the famous French literary critic, so attached to the formalism of writing and the preeminence of discourse structure over content in a text, has also delved into the relationship between text and reader, the reader’s apprehension of the textual object, and even the pleasure of reading.
In this quote, he exposes the freedom of man in his understanding and interpretation of the text. For him, the reader’s imagination depends on his culture and experiences, and therefore falls under psychoanalysis. Thus, the same work can receive different interpretations, even from the same person, who will be confronted with it at different times in his life or in different situations. Thus, the work exposes, the man disposes.
This quote also reflects on the relationship between a creator, his work, and his audience. An author’s intention may differ from the reception by the audience. From the moment the book is published, it escapes its author and becomes multiple books read by readers. The power of reading is for each person to create their own universe and detach themselves from the framework set by the author.
The work exposes, the man disposes
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