Creative interpretations: discourse analysis and literary reading

Swann, Joan (2012). Creative interpretations: discourse analysis and literary reading. In: Jones, Rodney ed. Discourse and Creativity. Pearson Education, pp. 53–71.



This chapter focuses on the potential creativity of reader response: how readers (in this case members of contemporary reading groups) may creatively construct responses to literary texts, in interaction with one another. The chapter contrasts the responses of two reading groups – a medics group, and a group of women friends – to the same literary text: John Steinbeck’s The Pearl. Using a form of discourse analysis derived from interactional sociolinguistics, the chapter illustrates in intricate detail how literary interpretations are constructed, and how these are embedded in interpersonal activity as participants, simultaneously, construct particular reader identities.

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