— The Intentional Fallacy, 1954
With these stirring words the American critics, W. K. Wimsatt Jr. and Monroe C. Beardsley, established a principle still maintained by many: namely that once a book is published its author relinquishes authority over it and becomes, in effect, a reader like any other, with no special power to determine meanings or control interpretations. Any intentions not realized in the book itself cannot be shoehorned in by post-facto pronouncements, even by the author.
It was always more complicated than that, but the relationship of J.K. Rowling to the world of the Harry Potter series shows the serious limitations of this view. Read more…