Someone recently said this about my real-time reviewing:

“His approach to reviewing is an unusual one, part of his goal being to turn “leitmotifs into a gestalt” – i.e. noticing bits of stories (and other things he has read and experienced), making connections between them, and describing the total effect, the sometimes interesting results lying somewhere between reader-response analysis, free association and tweeting while reading.”

My responses to that correspondent were:

“I think there is a debate to be had about a comparison of reader-response analysis and the Intentional Fallacy considerations (to which I’ve adhered since the Sixties), the latter being more related to considering only the text itself as a ‘thing-in-itself’ (New Criticism?). Thinking about it (and thanks for stirring this in my mind) I seem to be bringing these two aspects together – perhaps a new literary theory pending! As to tweets, I think they may be red herrings. Tweets form into specialised stream-of-consciousness of the Twitter population (someone has composed music based on the tweets coming in second by second). An interesting point though. One perhaps worth pursuing… Furthermore, I don’t really relate to the ‘free association’ description. This sounds more like automatic writing or something indisciplined. I think my RTRs have a logical underpinning based on the text itself, as the text affects me and, as is rightly said, on me as a particular person and my unique experiences. (Each of us is unique in this way).”


“…if you take what I do in the round, sorry, I can’t really see the comparison with what I do. Tweeting is necessarily – by Twitter’s rules – more bitty and interactive. Tweeting may be an ingredient of comparison, at a push. It may be a leitmotif in the gestalt. But to make the comparison at all seems to give the wrong impression of be-bitty-ment. As does ‘free association’. imo.”


I think my argument fell down because I obviously knew far less about Twitter than my interlocutor.  But I am very grateful for the spur to thought.

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