Towards a better definition of 'audience': Hans Robert Jauss's 'rezeptionsaesthetik' theory
Hogan, Nancy Grier
Crowell, Steven G.
Master of Arts
In this thesis, I consider the structure and nature of Hans Robert Jauss's notion of the audience and the role this notion plays in literary criticism. In light of the fact that Jauss's conception of the reader is unique and complicated (in that he does not fall neatly into any of the larger categories of the reader such as Riffaterre's "superreader" or Wolff's "intended reader"), I seek to provide a fuller explanation of the features of the audience for each reading stage. In order to flush out the characteristics of the three reading stages described by Jauss, I utilize Alfred Schutz's notions of type, typification, and finite provinces of meaning. Schutz's conception of the "finite provinces of meaning" is a helpful one when seeking to unpack the "types" which implicitly compose the activities of each reading stage. Therefore, I attempt to unravel the implicit typifications which make up Jauss's "stages of reading" as well as motivate the reasons why such a project bears some significance for our understanding of the notion of the reader as subject.