Reader-Response Theory and Approach: Application, Values and Significance for Students in Literature Courses

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Abstract

This article discusses the implementation of the reader-response theory and approach in the context of a literature course (English Literature 1) taught to students enrolled at the Department of English Language and Literature, who are preparing to be future teachers of English language. This article aims to examine the benefits and values of the reader-response theory applied in the described context, as well as potential drawbacks. The basic postulates of the reader-response theory and reader-response approach in class emphasize the crucial role of the reader on the literary and aesthetic experience when reading a literary text. The reader’s way of understanding and perceptions of a literary text, as well as the experience of the reader, influence the interaction between the reader and a text. This interaction contributes to the development of interpretation of the text and reconstruction of the ideas expressed in the text. The article examines the possible ways of implementing the reader-response theory in a literature class, including written assignments, personal responses to a literary text and in-class discussions. The research focuses on qualitative data collection and on analyzing students’ responses to these activities. Furthermore, the research aims to provide a clearer picture of students’ attitudes, observations and personal reactions when interacting with a literary text. One of the aims of the article is to provide recommendations and suggestions regarding reader-response theory application in teaching literature courses at tertiary level, in addition to designing course curricula and selecting appropriate in-class activities.

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