Context, Idioculture, Invention
Abstract

This essay examines three moments in the reception of the work of literature: the relation between the writer and his or her context; the relation between the reader and his or her context; and the relation between the reader and the original context of the writer. By introducing the notion of the idioculture—the singular, and constantly changing, combination of cultural materials that constitutes any individual—it is possible to move from the first two of these relations (where the work of invention and of creative reading can be seen in terms of the artist's or reader's internalization of the tensions within the circumambient culture) to the third, in which the play between contingency and historical connectedness produces the continuing experience of inventiveness for the reader.


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