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Transformational and therapeutical effects of reading: Reception Theory, psychoanalysis, and empirical studies of reading

Iva Žurić Jakovina ; Filozofski fakultet, Sveučilište u Rijeci

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 82 Kb


str. 115-126

preuzimanja: 311



The article analyzes two approaches to the theory and practice of reading – psychotherapy and literary theory. While the psychotherapy approach stands as a significant goal, the focus is on literary theory, more specifically theories that contribute to the problem of reading. It shows the basic mechanisms of effects that literary text has on its reader, that is, why reading literary texts can produce therapeutic-transformational effects. The article also intends to show that there is a place of intersection between psychotherapy and literary theory – the effect of reading. From the perspective of Reception Theory (Jauss & Iser, 1978) the essay problematises the implicit reader and what they expect from the text (horizon of expectation). Reader Response Theory (Crosman, 1982/1987; Dillon, 1982/1987) serves as another step towards approaching the particular reader and their reading experience. Another focus is on the psychological aspects of Reader Response Theory, with particular emphasis on Norman Holland’s psychoanalytic perspective. Finally, empirical studies of reading (Miall & Kuiken, 2002/2004) point to the ways in which literature evokes feelings, mental images, cognitive patterns, memories, repressed experiences, etc., that ultimately support the thesis of the possible therapeutic effects of literature. An empirical analysis of reading proves to be a necessary supplement the theoretical concept of the impact of literature on individuals and their lives.

Ključne riječi

transformational effects of reading; therapeutical effects of reading; literary transference; Reception Theory; psychoanalytic literary criticism; empirical studies of reading

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