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Literature as Exploration

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  174 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Louise Rosenblatt's "Literature as Exploration" has influenced literary theorists and teachers of literature at all levels for six decades. Now reissued in an attractive trade edition, it features a new foreword by Wayne Booth, a new preface and retrospective chapter by the author, and an updated list of suggested readings.In "Literature as Exploration," Rosenblatt present ...more
Paperback, 341 pages
Published January 1st 1995 by Modern Language Association of America (first published 1933)
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Community Reviews

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Lars Guthrie
Mar 28, 2010 Lars Guthrie rated it liked it
'An intense response to a work,' Louise Rosenblatt wrote in 'Literature As Exploration,' first published 72 years ago and wielding influence yet, 'will have its roots in the capacities and experiences already present in the personality and mind of the reader.'

I did have an intense response to 'Literature As Exploration,' but it was tempered by frustration, rooted in my expectations as a reader. Rosenblatt's verbosity was over the top, a link to what I think of as a Ninteenth Century style of es
Dec 30, 2015 Kyle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: phd-studies
An inspired and encouraging discussion of the imaginative and democratizing effect of reading literature should be, and a chastisement for teachers who go the opposite route by making books more of a burden for their young students. Not all print is equal, according to Rosenblatt, as she sticks to a mostly familiar set of classroom texts, but she still liberates the readers by emphasizing how it is the personal connection they bring to the books (with guidance from critically-aware instructors) ...more
Jul 15, 2011 Leeann rated it it was ok
Shelves: eng748-ya-lit
As I only have 55 more pages, I'll go ahead and call this one a wrap. I think that this author is ABSOLUTELY right, she tells us that students need to read to become contributing members of a Democratic society. She says that they do this by getting exposed to diverse situations through literature, and through this, they develop an empathic approach to problem solving.

I agree wholeheartedly. . .literature lets the reader live vicariously through the characters in the book, that is why we like it
Sarah Catto
Feb 18, 2015 Sarah Catto rated it liked it
Much better than the previous work I read by Rosenblatt. The new edition of this work takes into account some critical theory and even culturally relevant pedagogical pieces, so it was a refreshing change from her somewhat dated 1930s writing of before. Lots of fantastic quotes and her use of Guy de Maupassant's quote to reflect emotional experiences of reading resonated with me as a reader and writer.
Mark Isero
Jan 06, 2013 Mark Isero rated it really liked it
I'm really happy that I finally read this book. Rosenblatt argues that the reader and the text come together for a transaction that can leave both transformed. Another way I understand her point is that both a book and we are lifeless, or at least unmoving, until we pick up the book and engage.

This book also really helped me as an English teacher, particularly with Common Core, which emphasizes close reading, coming soon. Rosenblatt's critics claim that her views are similar to reader response t
Aug 01, 2012 Eric rated it it was amazing
A ground-breaking, perceptive study of reader-response literary criticism by the author who set the standards for it. In this 1937 study, Rosenblatt argues that a literary work only has meaning because we give it meaning; there is no intrinsic meaning within a novel, story, poem, or a play. Readers bring their frame of reference and experiences into the reading process, and as such, they give life to the work in question. A literary work will mean different things to different readers, and when ...more
Oct 26, 2014 Ricki rated it it was amazing
I went a little bit overboard on the highlighting of this book. It is a foundational book that I believe all teachers should read.
Sep 22, 2010 Scott rated it really liked it
Originally written in 1938, this philosphical work was revolutionary in its suggestion that the meaning of text does not reside solely within the words themselves. Rather, meaning is made when a reader-- with all of his or her life experiences and values-- comes into contact with a printed text with all of its history and implied values at a given time. Her downfall is writing so broadly that she will often contradict her own claims. So for example, she offers a very strong critique against the ...more
Oct 15, 2011 Dominic rated it it was amazing
I'm kind of in awe of this woman. I've been hearing about Louise M. Rosenblatt since before I started teaching, almost 15 years ago, but only now have I tackled the theory. Thought-provoking stuff. And it's amazing that she wrote this in 1938. No one has had more impact on the teaching of reading and literature than this woman. It's a shame that her theory gets watered down so much these days (in a sense, even by me!), but I'm glad I am on a first name basis. I'm ready to take the Rosenblatt cha ...more
Charise Kollar
Oct 22, 2015 Charise Kollar rated it it was amazing
Sarah Douglas
Feb 02, 2011 Sarah Douglas rated it liked it
This is a great book for teachers of English and reiterates a lot of what I think many of us already innately feel as lovers of language and literature -- that the reader is half the equation. The writer's intentions are important, sure, but what the reader brings to the table is just as important. It is heavy on theory, though, and light on practical application. It also gets a bit repetitive by the end. Rosenblatt was revolutionary and way ahead of her time, though. A solid read.
Jan 24, 2008 jacky rated it liked it
Shelves: college, education
I have been going crazy trying to remember the title of this book. I finally realized I saved all my papers and could just look in there to find the title. I remember that my professors thought this book was very ground breaking for teaching literature. I remember only bits and pieces now, but at the time it made a lot of sense and cover many ideas about reading I had never considered. Now that I have some real teaching experience, I am interested in revisiting this text.
Feb 25, 2009 Davelowusa rated it it was amazing
This is one of the texts that got it all started. I'm referring to the teaching of literature as a transactional process in which students interpret writing in their own way, not in a set way that their teacher prescribes. It's a blow to B.F. Skinner's notions of behaviorism and a nod in the direction of Vygotsky's social constructivism. It allows for innovation rather than stagnation and repetition.
Jan 21, 2010 Claire rated it really liked it
Some of the things I'm struggling with are the unnecessary bashing of comic books and magazines as not high-quality. I'm interested to know what her standards are for good literature. Also, the subtle propaganda for democracy is an odd backbone for the book. But some of the ideas are so in line (and much better put) with my own that I cannot help but take notes.
Jan 27, 2009 Stacy rated it really liked it
Recommended to Stacy by: Dr. Alexander Sidorkin
Having read this after her text-The Reader, the Text, the Poem, this one was a little review. She writes, "As long as artificial and pedantic notion of literary culture persists, students will continue in their indifference to the great works of the past and present."

This is the notion I hope my research can impact.

See notes.

UNC PN 59 R6 1968
A lot of this book was repetitive, but I identified with the core message: that readers respond to texts and create the texts' meaning.

I put this book down after a while because it got too repetitive and I wasn't getting much more out of it.
Rachel M.
Good theories about teaching literature, but the book is way too long. It only needed to be about 100-150 pages long. very progressive text considering the fact that it was written by a woman in 1928.
Jul 26, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it
A little too wordy and abstract at times, but a lot of good food for thought. Now how to translate this into sound teaching methods...
Jen Munnerlyn
Apr 28, 2009 Jen Munnerlyn marked it as to-read
Shelves: reading
Recommended by Tanya in Doha. I blogged about this book- from her email. Any other info about it?
Revisiting this book always expands the horizons in the classroom and in personal reading.
Ann Michael
Dec 15, 2007 Ann Michael rated it it was amazing
classic, readable pedagogy. she was amazing! Teachers of all stripes should read it.
Feb 22, 2013 Karinna rated it it was amazing
Rosenblatt is prophetic and brilliant! She is my new literary hero!
Mar 29, 2007 Anne-Marie rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
A must read for the English teacher.
I love this book. If you are a teacher, particularly of the English/Literature variety - this is a must read. I love how she explains that reading is a process - a transaction between the text, the reader and the author! Love , love, love it!

As a theorist, I've heard of Louise Rosenblatt and her theory of transaction as one reads between the reader, the text, and the Poem (the reading event). I love that she calls it a Poem, a work of art. Mostly, I love how she professionalizes teachers and put
hannah marked it as to-read
Oct 20, 2016
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“An intense response to a work will have its roots in the capacities and experiences already present in the personality and mind of the reader.” 1 likes
“Through the medium of words, the text brings into the reader's consciousness certain concepts, certain sensuous experiences, certain images of things, people, actions, scenes. The special meanings and, more particularly, the submerged associations that these words have for the individual reader will largely determine what the work communicates to him. The reader brings to the work personality traits, memories of past events, present needs and preoccupations, a particular mood of the moment, and a particular physical condition. These and many other elements in a never-to-be-duplicated combination determine his response to the peculiar contribution of the text.” 0 likes
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