chapter  6
13 Pages

Reading the Text

WithJames Risser

Roland Barthes rightly points out that the author is a modern figure, emerging from the Middle Ages with English empiricism, French rationalism, and the personal faith of the Reformation. The author is a product of a society that has discovered the prestige of the individual. Consequently, the text is always the text of someone; the text is always authored, centered and unified through the speaking of someone. Under the sway of individualism and capitalism, the text is a personal expression of the author, a glimpse into someone's inner state. Gadamer insists that the experience of art is comparable to the enactment of play in which the spectator the one who stands at a distance from the work of art is transformed by the participatory character of play. The performative character expresses that there is ultimately no determination of meaning that is originary or even reproductive; the determination of meaning remains productive. The performative character is directed toward the future of the text.