Reading the Written Image: Verbal Play, Interpretation, and the Roots of Iconophobia

Paperback | June 5, 2008

byChristopher Collins

not yet rated|write a review

Reading the Written Image is a study of the imagination as it is prompted by the verbal cues of literature. Since every literary image is also a mental image, a representation of an absent entity, Collins contends that imagination is a poiesis, a making-up, an act of play for both author and reader. The "willing suspension of disbelief," which Coleridge said "constitutes poetic faith," therefore empowers and directs the reader to construct an imagined world in which particular hypotheses are proposed and demonstrated.

Although the imagination as a central concept in poetics emerges into critical debate only in the eighteenth century, it has been a crucial issue for over two millennia in religious, philosophical, and political discourse. The two recognized alternative methodologies in the study of literature, the poetic and the hermeneutic, are opposed on the issue of the written image: poets and readers feel free to imagine, while hermeneuts feel obliged to specify the meanings of images and, failing that, to minimize the importance of imagery. Recognizing this problem, Collins proposes that reading written texts be regarded as a performance, a unique kind of play that transposes what had once been an oral-dramatic situation onto an inner, imaginary stage. He applies models drawn from the psychology of play to support his theory that reader response is essentially a poietic response to a rule-governed set of ludic cues.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$45.95

In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

Reading the Written Image is a study of the imagination as it is prompted by the verbal cues of literature. Since every literary image is also a mental image, a representation of an absent entity, Collins contends that imagination is a poiesis, a making-up, an act of play for both author and reader. The "willing suspension of disbelief...

Christopher Collins is Associate Professor of English at New York University and author of The Act of Poetry (1970), The Uses of Observation: Correspondential Vision in the Writings of Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman (1971), and The Poetics of the Mind's Eye (1991).

other books by Christopher Collins

Paleopoetics: The Evolution of the Preliterate Imagination
Paleopoetics: The Evolution of the Preliterate Imaginat...

Paperback|Nov 4 2014

$25.25 online$30.00list price(save 15%)
University-Community Engagement in the Asia Pacific: Public Benefits Beyond Individual Degrees
University-Community Engagement in the Asia Pacific: Pu...

Kobo ebook|Jan 12 2017

$48.49 online$62.89list price(save 22%)
The Word Made Love: The Dialogical Theology of Joseph Ratzinger / Benedict XVI
The Word Made Love: The Dialogical Theology of Joseph R...

Kobo ebook|May 1 2013

$20.19 online$26.23list price(save 23%)
see all books by Christopher Collins
Format:PaperbackDimensions:206 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.48 inPublished:June 5, 2008Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271028424

ISBN - 13:9780271028422

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of Reading the Written Image: Verbal Play, Interpretation, and the Roots of Iconophobia

Reviews