On the Ethics of Interpretation: are Young Readers to Blame?

  • Indrė Žakevičienė Vytauto Didžiojo universitetas Lituanistikos katedra V. Putvinskio 23 – 201, Kaunas LT-44243
Keywords: Literary Ethics, empirical experience, genre, novel, emotions


The author of the article will discuss the problem of validity thinking about the basic statements of Literary Ethics. Though the problems Literary Ethics emphasizes are global and at the same time rather abstract, the efforts of literary researchers to educate readers with the help of novels are understandable but seem ineffectual. Young readers are not capable of understanding complicated texts of the previous century because of the different contents of their mental spaces or the different schemes of thinking. Literary Ethics speaks about the importance of the role of emotions while reading novels, but the spectrum of primary emotions young readers experience while reading complicated literary texts blocks all the ways to deeper understanding and the ability to analyze specific ethical issues encoded in the novels. The theory of emotions explains the situation and in a way rehabilitates young readers. Nevertheless, particular transformations of genres or of the original form of literary texts could evoke the readers’ interest and make them think deeper or extend the realm of interpretations by relating particular “genre markers” and rethinking their codes.


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