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Wimsatt and Beardsley and the Intentional Fallacy

One of the best known debates on the intentional fallacy principle when reading a story or essay can be explicated in a research paper. Paper Masters will overview what Wimsatt and Beardsley argue regarding intentional fallacy and outline their key points in a custom paper.

In this famous essay, The Intentional Fallacy, Wimsatt and Beardsley argue that it is misguided for readers to assume that a text means what the author intended it to mean. Wimsatt and Beardsley The Intentional FallacyPaper Masters research papers illustrate the following regarding their differing opinions:

  1. In contrast to the open-ended multiple interpretations that are viewed as valid in literary criticism today, Wimsatt and Beardsley (and their fellow New Critics) believed that each text had a specific meaning
  2. The meaning of a text can only be deciphered correctly through a meticulous examination of the mechanics and structural components of the text itself.
  3. All personal matters having to do with the author, the author's biography, or the author's imposition of meaning upon the text can serve to distract the critic from the only truly reliable indicator of literary meaning, namely, the indisputable internal evidence within the poem itself.

Intentional Fallacy Principle

In today's world, when the images and biographies of authors are so visible and important to the public reception of a text, it is difficult to even imagine taking the tenets of New Criticism seriously. At the same time, our term papers feel that many students, whether they recognize it or not, practice a kind of New Criticism while reading novels and poems, in which they believe that a correct meaning can be deciphered through careful reading.

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