Levels of Literary Meaning

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    I argue that intentionalist theories of meaning and interpretation, like those of Hirsch and Juhl, have been insufficiently attentive to the different levels of authorial intention that are operative in literary works. By countenancing intentions on different levels – ranging from simple semantic intentions, over the use of irony and allusion, to wide-ranging strategic decisions or attempts to express general ideas – and their complex interplay, intentionalism converges, at least in practice, on some of the rival approaches to interpretation. The paper provides a rationale for, and a sketch of, a multi-level intentionalism that is more sensitive to actual authorial and critical practice.
    Translated title of the contributionNiveauer af litterær mening
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPhilosophy and Literature
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)70-90
    Publication statusPublished - 1. May 2017


    • Literary meaning
    • Author intentions
    • authorship
    • Intentionalism
    • Metacognition
    • Literary interpretation


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