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An overview of poststructuralist literary theory (main characteristics, pros, cons, etc.)

Questions addressed:
According to Poststructuralism,
...what makes the text "literary"?
...what is the relationship between text & author,reader, reality, language and history?
...what makes the text a "great piece or art"?

Also:
Pros&Cons of poststructural literary theory

Solution Preview

1. Text as literature: What makes a text "literary"?
- A text is always a work in progress. Being constantly re-structured by the reader/critic, it can never be fully understood and interpreted.

- Thus there is no 'original' text. Just like one significant always refers to another significant(and never to the signified), texts always refer to other texts (intertextuality).

2. Text and author: What relationship is suggested?
- In the poststructuralist way of thinking,
both reality and the subject are mere literary fiction, i.e. the author can never stand outside of the text, since there is no 'outside of the text'.

- Since literature is considered an open, never fully interpretable structure, the author is irrelevant. Thus, Poststructuralism does not see the author as the creator of the text.

3. Text and reader: What role is ascribed to the latter?
- Just like the author, the reader is not considered a free subject.
- However, the reader is the main factor in the transformation of the literary opus into text. He plays a productive part, since the text is 'created in ...

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