The Readerly and Denotation

The classic, or "readerly" text "keeps within a circle of solidarities, by stressing at every opportunity the compatible nature of circumstances, by attaching narrated events together with a kind of logical "paste"... The solidarity of notations thus appears to be a kind of defensive weapon, it says in its way that meaning is a force, that it is devised within an economy of forces (S/Z 156)."

Opposed to the idealized writerly version of text is the "readerly" which endeavors to obfuscate plural forms at all costs. In language, where the writerly utilizes connotation (multiple associated meanings), the readerly stresses denotation (fixed, self-enclosed meaning). In navigation, where the writerly enlists multilinearity, the readerly clings to unilinearity. In structure, where the writerly proudly displays its position inside a scattered cultural network, the readerly postures itself as a hermetic unity. It might be argued that, with the readerly, interpretation is not so much a creative act as a means to an end in consumption.

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