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American Confrontations with Reception Theory

Robert C. Holub
Monatshefte
Vol. 81, No. 2 (Summer, 1989), pp. 213-225
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30166229
Page Count: 13
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American Confrontations with Reception Theory
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Abstract

Although reception theory has become better known in the United States during the past decade, it has not managed to influence the critical scene in any significant manner. This situation is due only in part to philosophical underpinnings that are unfamiliar to critics in the United States. The central reason for the failure of reception theory to gain a large audience is the perception that it is not radical enough. Fish's review of Iser's The Act of Reading, de Man's introduction to an English volume of essays by Jauß, and Weber's analysis of contradictions in Iser's theory demonstrate in exemplary fashion this response to reception theory in the United States. American critics employ various common strategies to make their theoretical works appear more radical, but their putatively more sophisticated criticism is ultimately mired in negativity and self-cancellation.

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