<<

. 75
( 82 .)



>>

Barthleme™s “Alice” indicate that with what I call strategies, the intentionalistic idiom of action
is best suited for much of what we think of as the object of literary interpretation.
416 NOTES

35. Monroe C. Beardsley, The Possibility of Criticism (Detroit: Wayne State University Press,
1970), p. 34. See Chapter 2, p. 34.
36. For elaborations of this distinction, see Tolhurst,“On What a Text Is,” and Jack W. Meiland,
“The Meanings of a Text,” British Journal of Aesthetics 21 (1981).
37. This notion is elaborated on by Umberto Eco in his The Open Work (Cambridge, Mass.:
Harvard University Press, 1989).
38. I take this to be the point of Jack Meiland™s “The Meanings of a Text.”
39. It stands in the way of maximizing interpretive play if the authorial intent is determinate; it
is irrelevant because if we adopt anti-intentionalist interpretive practices, then whether or
not the author intended an “open text,” we will read it in that like anyway.
40. For a diagnosis of this, see Mary Sirridge, “Artistic Intention and Critical Prerogative,”
British Journal of Aesthetics 18 (1978).
41. See, for example, the high premium Barthes assigns to “writerly reading” in his The Pleasure
of the Text (New York: Hill and Wang, 1975).
42. This position has been defended by Laurent Stern in his “On Interpreting,” Journal of
Aesthetics and Art Criticism 39 (1980); and Laurent Stern™s “Facts and Interpretations,”
address to the Pacific Division meetings of the American Philosophical Association,
Spring 1988.
43. A moral purpose that anti-intentionalism might be thought to advance is the emancipation
of the spectator, a view with respect to interpretation that parallels the aspiration of many
modern artists. But one wonders here whether the freedom of the reader here is genuinely
moral or whether it is merely a strained moralization of the free play of cognition enjoined
by Kantian aestheticism.
Or it might be felt that opening the artwork to interpretative play affords some kind of
consciousness-raising heuristic; Jonathan Culler seems to have this view at the end of Struc-
turalist Poetics where engaging the nonauthorially constrained play of textual signs teaches
the reader something about the process of semiosis in general (p. 264). This claim would
depend on a very controversial view of how language, in general, functions.
One could also imagine a literary theorist defending anti-intentionalism as securing an
institutional purpose.That is, since the literary-critical institution is predicated on the pro-
duction of interpretations, anti-intentionalism is facilitating because it keeps more inter-
pretive options open. Nevertheless, the job security of literary critics hardly seems like the
kind of overriding purpose that would move the rest of us.
Interestingly, intentionalism has also been defended for what might be thought of as
institutional purposes. E. D. Hirsch, for example, wants to defend literary criticism as a cog-
nitive discipline, and he believes that this requires determinate meaning, a commitment
best served, on his account, by authorial intention. In this respect, Hirsch, unlike P. D. Juhl,
is advancing intentionalism as a means to secure an end of the literary institution rather
than as a thesis about the nature of meaning. See E.D. Hirsch, Jr., Validity in Interpretation
(New Haven:Yale University Press, 1967); and E. D. Hirsch, Jr., The Aims of Interpretation
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976). See Chapter I.
44. This is not an invented example. See J. Hoberman, “Bad Movies,” Film Comment,
July“August 1980. Similar arguments appear in Hoberman™s “Vulgar Modernism,” Artforum,
February 1982.
Moreover, I should stress that the issue raised by Hoberman™s critical practice is not
isolated. For it is often the case that the developments of avant-garde art are projected or
read backward with respect to earlier works in the tradition. Thus, previously we saw
Barthes™s tendency to regard Mallarm©™s modernist aspiration to efface authorship as a fea-
ture of all antecedent writing.
45. Hoberman.“Bad Movies.”
46. Intentionalist criticism is guided by what a given text or artwork could have meant to the
work™s contemporary informed audience. Reference to what the audience could have
NOTES 417

understood is not to be taken as an alternative to intentionalist criticism, however, but as a
means of identifying authorial intent. For, ex hypothesi, we begin by attributing to the
author the intention of communicating “ of getting her audience to recognize her inten-
tion.Thus, what we conjecture as the intention of the author charitably, is something that
the author could reasonably believe the audience “ that is, the informed audience “ could
recognize. It should also be noted that included under the rubric of intentionalist criticism
is the elucidation of the author™s presuppositions, especially the elucidation of the stylistic
choice structure through which the author™s intentional activity takes place. And again,
what an informed audience could perceive as a stylistic option guides our hypotheses about
the author™s intentions for the reasons already given.
47. Søren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript (Princeton: Princeton University Press,
1941), p. 466.
48. Culler, Structuralist Poetics, p. 115.
49. Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia (New York: Basic Books, 1974), p. 42.
50. Why, it might be asked, if this analysis is correct, do so many critics seem willing to indulge
anti-intentionalist criticism? One hypothesis is that by means of theoretical devices like
unconscious or ideological motivation, they believe that they are getting at the author™s
actual intentions.
51. This example comes from Denis Dutton,“Why Intentionalism Won™t Go Away,” in Litera-
ture and the Question of Philosophy, ed.Anthony Cascardi (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univer-
sity Press, 1987).
52. Juhl, Interpretation, pp. 121“24.
53. Cavell,“Music Discomposed.”
54. Daniel Nathan has argued that intentionalist arguments often depend on having access to
contextual information about the text “ rather than biographical evidence “ and that the
anti-intentionalist also may, in principle, have access to contextual information. I think,
however, that an example like Edward Wood indicates that biographical information may
also be required. For Wood was a contemporary of the Surrealist filmmaker Bu±uel, some-
one who had the intellectual resources and the will to make a transgressive film. Thus,
knowing that the filmmaker was Wood, and knowing something about Wood, and that the
film-maker was not Bu±uel, is crucial to our dismissal of Plan 9 as a mistake. See Daniel O.
Nathan,“Irony and the Artist™s Intentions,” British Journal of Aesthetics 23 (1982).

A N G L O -AMERICAN AESTHETICS A N D CONTEMPORARY CRITICISM :
INTENTIO N A N D T H E HERMENEUTICS O F SUSPICION
1. Throughout, I will use the terms “aesthetics” and “philosophy of art” interchangeably. I pre-
fer the term “philosophy of art,” but since our society carries the label “aesthetics,” I will
use it in its broadest signification.
2. For an especially notable example, see Richard Wollheim, Painting as Art (Princeton Uni-
versity Press, 1987).
3. Here I am taking the argument for the existence of the intentional fallacy to be one of the
major founding moments of contemporary Anglo-American aesthetics.That argument was
first broached by Monroe Beardsley and W. K.Wimsatt in their article “Intention” in Dic-
tionary of World Literature, ed. J.T. Shipley (New York: Philosophical Library, 1943); later their
position received its canonical statement in Beardsley and Wimsatt, “The Intentional Fal-
lacy,” The Swanee Review 54 (1946).
4. For one example of this resistance see: Michael Baxandall, Patterns of Intention (Yale Univer-
sity Press. 1985).
5. This diagnosis of anti-intentionalism is developed more elaborately in my “Art, Intention
and Conversation,” in Intention and Interpretation, ed. Gary Iseminger (Temple University
Press, 1992).
418 NOTES

6. Pierre Macheray, A Theory of Literary Production (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978).
7. See especially the arguments in Richard Levin, New Readings vs. Old Plays (University of
Chicago Press, 1979).
8. The qualification “at least” is meant to restrict Verne™s paternalism to African Americans (in
contrast to other persons of color), because Capt. Nemo, Verne™s superman, is of Indian
extraction.
9. My point above pertains to the conceptual relation between intentionalist findings and
political criticism. If Verne™s portrayal of Neb is intended as irony “ that is, as implying that
African-Americans are not docile “ then criticizing the characterization of Neb as racist
makes no sense.There are, of course, further questions about how one goes about establish-
ing that a characterization is ironic.That is an important issue, but one that I shall reserve
for another essay.

THE INTE N T I O N A L FALLACY: DEFENDING MYSELF
1. George Dickie and Kent Wilson.“The Intentional Fallacy: Defending Beardsley,” The Journal
of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 53 (1995): 233“50.
2. No«l Carroll, “Art, Intention, and Conversation,” in Intention and Interpretation, ed. Gary
Iseminger (Temple University Press, 1992), pp. 97“131.
3. See Monroe Beardsley, Aesthetics (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1958), p. 20.
4. E.g., Dickie and Wilson, p. 234.
5. I have employed arguments like these against anti-intentionalism in my “Art, Intention, and
Conversation,” p. 112. See also, No«l Carroll, “Anglo-American Aesthetics and Contempo-
rary Criticism: Intention and the Hermeneutics of Suspicion,” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art
Criticism 51 (1993): 247.
6. For a defense of this view of interpretation, see Annette Barnes, On Interpretation (Oxford:
Basil Blackwell, 1988).

INTERPRETATION A N D IN T E N T I O N : THE D E B AT E BETWEEN
HYPOTHETICAL A N D ACTUAL IN T E N T I O N A L I S M
1. No«l Carroll,“Art, Intention, and Conversation,” in Intention and Interpretation, edited by Gary
Iseminger (Philadelphia:Temple University Press, 1992); No«l Carroll,“Anglo-American Aes-
thetics and Contemporary Criticism: Intention and the Hermeneutics of Suspicion,” Journal
of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 51 (1993), pp. 245“52; No«l Carroll, “The Intentional Fallacy:
Defending Myself,” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 55 (1997), pp. 305“9; Gary Iseminger,
“An International Demonstration?” in Intention and Interpretation, edited by Gary Iseminger
(Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1992); Gary Iseminger, “Actual Intentionalism vs.
Hypothetical Intentionalism,” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 54 (1996), pp. 319“26;
Gary Iseminger, “Interpretive Relevance, Contradiction and Compatibility with the Text,”
Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 56 (1998), pp. 58“61; Paisley Livingston,“Intentionalism
in Aesthetics,” New Literary History, 29 (1998), pp. 831“46.
2. Stevens Knapp and Walter Benn Michaels, “Against Theory,” Critical Inquiry, 8 (1982), pp.
723“42.This view is criticized in George Wilson, “Again,Theory: On Speaker™s Meaning,
Linguistic Meaning and the Meaning of the Text,” Critical Inquiry, 19 (1992), pp. 164“85.
3. Gary Iseminger,“Actual Intentionalism vs. Hypothetical Intentionalism.”
4. Monroe Beardsley, Aesthetics (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1981), p. 20.
5. Gary Iseminger,“Actual Intentionalism vs. Hypothetical Intentionalism.”
6. This example is adapted from Paisley Livingston,“Intentionalism in Aesthetics,” pp. 841“44.
7. William Tolhurst, “On What a Text Is and How It Means,” British Journal of Aesthetics, 19
(1979), pp. 3“14; Alexander Nehamas,“The Postulated Author: Critical Monism as a Reg-
ulative Ideal,” Critical Inquiry, 8 (1981), pp. 133“49; Alexander Nehamas, “Writer, Text,
NOTES 419

Work,Author,” in Literature and the Question of Philosophy, edited by Anthony Cascardi (Bal-
timore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987); Jerrold Levinson,“Intention and Interpreta-
tion in Literature,” in The Pleasures of Aesthetics (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996).
8. There is, however, this difference between the evidence countenanced by the hypothetical
intentionalist and that to which the modest actual intentionalist is open: the hypothetical
intentionalist will not use nonpublic authorial statements of intent (as found in diaries,
journals, correspondence, and the like) as grounds for his hypotheses, whereas the modest
actual intentionalist will permit the cautious use of such information. Ultimately, it seems,
the hypothetical intentionalist defends this limitation on the evidence on the grounds that
it does not reflect our interpretive practices. In response, I will argue later that as an empir-
ical conjecture about our practices, this is false.
9. Jerrold Levinson,“Intention and Interpretation in Literature,” p. 194.
10. Ibid., p. 200.
11. See Robert Stecker, “Apparent, Implied and Postulated Authors,” Philosophy and Literature,
11 (1987), p. 266.
12. Jerrold Levinson,“Intention and Interpretation in Literature,” p. 198.
13. Peter Kurth,“This Man Is an Island,” New York Times Book Review, Aug. 22 (1999), p. 13.
14. Sharon O™Brien, Willa Cather: The Emerging Voice (New York: Oxford University Press,
1987); Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, “Across Gender, Across Sexuality: Willa Cather and Oth-
ers,” South Atlantic Quarterly, 88 (1989), pp. 53“72.
15. Joan Acocella, “Cather and the Academy,” New Yorker 71, Nov. 27 (1995), pp. 56“66; Joan
Acocella, Cather and the Politics of Criticism (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000).
16. Neither side quotes directly from Cather™s letters, since the Cather estate forbids it. Presumably,
they would be willing to cite Cather™s correspondence, were it legally permissible to do so.
17. Jerrold Levinson,“Intention and Interpretation in Literature,” p. 179.
18. The New Testament Gospel according to Mark 4.12.
19. This view of the passage from Mark has been endorsed by Pascal and Calvin and, to a cer-
tain extent, by Frank Kermode, though Kermode uses it to advance a theory of interpreta-
tion different from modest actual intentionalism. See D. P.Walker,“Esoteric Symbolism,” in
Poetry and Poetics from Ancient Greece to the Renaissance, edited by G. M. Kirkwood (Ithaca:
Cornell University Press, 1975), pp. 218“32; and Frank Kermode, The Genesis of Secrecy: On
the Interpretation of Narrative (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979).
20. D. P.Walker,“Esoteric Symbolism,” pp. 221“22.
21. Jerrold Levinson,“Intention and Interpretation in Literature,” pp. 181“84.
22. The hypothetical intentionalist presupposes that all artworks should be “freestanding” in
the sense that all one needs to interpret them is what is available publicly. However, the
problem with this is that not all artworks are designed to be “freestanding” in this way, as
the example of intensely autobiographical art indicates.
23. For example, the filmmaker Stan Brakhage often makes highly autobiographical films.
When he attends screenings of his own films, he often answers questions about the mean-
ing of the films from spectators by reference to the autobiographical significance of the
work. This seems an integral part of the author/audience relation with respect to these
films. If the hypothetical intentionalist objects that this violates some imaginable
author/audience contract, the appropriate response would appear to be that Brakhage™s
“confessions” represent a fulfillment of the real, as opposed to the stipulated, contract that is
pertinent to Brakhage™s work.
Moreover, if the hypothetical intentionalist argues that since Brakhage makes these
pronouncements in public, they do not violate the strictures of hypothetical intentionalism,
this would seem to open the hypothetical intentionalist to charges of arbitrariness “ why
are the self-same Brakhagean remarks interpretively available if he utters them during a
screening at Millennium Film Workshop, but not if they are filed away among his personal
correspondence in the library of Anthology Film Archives?
420 NOTES
24. See Stuart Gilbert, James Joyce™s Ulysses (New York:Vintage Books, 1962), pp. v-ix.
25. That is, where the actual authorial intention and the best-warranted hypothesis about it
come apart.

A RT, NARRATIVE , EMOTION
AND

1. A useful survey of this material in the philosophical literature is John Deigh™s “Cognitivism
in the Theory of Emotions,” in Ethics, 104 (July 1994). For a discussion of a wide range of
research in psychology, see Keith Oatley, Best Laid Schemes: The Psychology of the Emotions
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992).
2. Oatley remarks, for example, that Freud had no theory of the emotions as such in Best Laid
Schemes, p. 143.
3. Flo Leibowitz,“Apt Feelings, or Why ˜Women™s Films™Aren™t Trivial,” in Post-Theory: Recon-
structing Film Studies, edited by David Bordwell and Noel Carroll (Madison: University of
Wisconsin Press, 1996), pp. 219“29.
4. Leo Tolstoy, What Is Art? translated by Aylmer Maude (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing
Company, 1960), and R. G. Collingwood, Principles of Art (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1938).
5. Some modernist narratives may intentionally suppress emotive address entirely.
6. Denis Diderot, The Paradox of Acting (New York: Hill and Wang, 1957).
7. For different versions of this view, see, for example: William Lyons, Emotion (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1980); George Rey “Functionalism and the Emotions,” in
Explaining Emotions, edited by Amelie Oksenberg Rorty (Berkeley: University of California
Press, 1980), pp. 163“96; Robert C. Solomon, The Passions (Garden City, N.Y.:
Anchor/Doubleday, 1976); Irving Thalberg,“Emotion and Thought,” American Philosophical
Quarterly, no. 1 (1964), pp. 45“55; and Thalberg,“Avoiding the Emotion-Thought Conun-
drum,” Philosophy, no. 55 (1980), pp. 396“402.
Of course not everyone accepts the cognitive theory of the emotions as a universal
theory of the emotions. However, even if it is not a universal theory of the emotions, I still
think its usefulness in discussing the emotions elicited by narratives is defensible, since most
of those emotions appear to fall noncontroversially into the class of cognitive emotions.
8. The caveat “at least” here is meant to acknowledge that desires may also be constituents of
many everyday emotions. Some theorists argue that desires are constituents of all emotions.
See, for example, Jenefer Robinson,“Emotion, Judgment and Desire,” in Journal of Philoso-
phy, vol. LXXX, no. 11 (November 1983), pp. 731“41; and O. H. Green, The Emotions: A
Philosophical Theory (Dordrecht,The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1992).
9. This is not to say that we always recognize the emotional state that we are in by reference
to the necessary criteria for being in that state, nor that everyone can explicitly articulate
the necessary criteria for being in a given emotional state. Often, we identify the state we
are in by means of what Ronald de Sousa has called “paradigm scenarios” “ narrative pro-
totypes that we use to match emotions to certain types of situations. For a discussion of par-
adigm scenarios, see Ronald de Sousa, The Rationality of Emotion (Cambridge, Mass.: The
MIT Press, 1987). For an initial attempt to suggest the relevance of paradigm scenarios for
aesthetic research, see No«l Carroll, “The Image of Women in Film: A Defense of a Para-
digm,” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 48: 4, Fall 1990, pp. 349“60.
10. S.Tomkins,“Script Theory: Differential Magnification of Affects,” in Nebraska Symposium on
Motivation, 26, (1979), pp. 201“36; Kent Bach, “Emotional Disorder and Attention,” in
Philosophical Pathology, edited by George Graham and G. Lynn Stephens (Cambridge, Mass.:
The MIT Press, 1994), pp. 51“72; and, Jenefer Robinson,“Startle,” Journal of Philosophy, vol.
XCII, no. 2 (February 1995), pp. 53“74.
11. Robinson,“Startle,” p. 65.
12. This theory of suspense is defended in No«l Carroll,“The Paradox of Suspense,” in Suspense:
Conceptualizations,Theoretical Analyses and Empirical Explorations, edited by Peter Vorderer, Hans
Wulf and Mike Friedrichsen (Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1996), pp. 71“91.

<<

. 75
( 82 .)



>>