The ethics of reading: Ingarden, Iser, Ricoeur

Ҫelik, Murat (2017) The ethics of reading: Ingarden, Iser, Ricoeur. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Download (1MB)


This thesis explores the ethical impact of literary narrative fictions on the reader. It does so by focusing mainly on the reading experience since one of the main claims of the thesis is that literary narrative fictions are co-products of the author and the reader. In that sense the aforementioned impact cannot be understood without taking into account the creative acts of the reader. The exploration is carried out by focusing on three scholars whose investigations on the problem of literary experience can be read as complementary works.

In the first chapter I descriptively lay out Roman Ingarden’s investigation on the ontological and structural character of the literary work of art along with his phenomenological inquiry into the cognition of this work. By examining his basic claims about the nature of the literary work of art and its cognition, I discuss the ontological incompleteness of these works which necessitates the active role of the reader in giving the work its final shape.

In the second chapter I focus upon Wolfgang Iser’s reader-response theory. Iser’s theory goes parallel to Ingarden’s in the sense that they both accept the openness of the work to the creative acts of the reader. Iser, however by his notions of depragmatization, negation and negativity suggest us a two-way traffic between the fictional work and the reader. Through the reading proses, by virtue of the negations and de-pragmatizations, the work invites the reader to reflect on the familiar norms it represents and suggest to her a new model to understand the real world. In this way, while giving a shape to the work, the reader is also shaped by it.

The third chapter addresses the phenomenological hermeneutics of Paul Ricoeur. By exploring his notion of “narrative identity” as a mediator between the ipse and idem identities, my aim is to show the influence of the literary fictional narratives in understanding the identity of the individual subject as a temporal, historical, and intersubjective being. It is only through this understanding that we can construe the subject in her ethical identity. I will also focus on Ricoeur’s notions of “emplotment,” and “threefold mimesis,” which implies the active role of the reader in realizing the literary narrative fiction, so that I can reveal how fictional narratives enhance the notion of narrative identity.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0045 Theory. Philosophy. Esthetics
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2017 10:57
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2022 15:37

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update