This book brings together some of the most distinguished figures currently at work in philosophy, literary theory and criticism to debate the limits of interpretation.
Semioticist Eco and three scholars debate whether there are limits to the interpretations of a text and whether the author's intentions are relevant. Eco seeks to limit the degree to which texts can be interpreted, explains how overinterpretations can be recognized based on the intention of the work, and argues that the author of the text can rule out some interpretations. Rorty, a pragmatist, feels that texts should be able to be used for the readers' own purposes. Jonathan Culler, a literary theorist, defends ``overinterpretation,'' and critic Christine Brook-Rose digresses slightly by discussing what she calls ``palimpsest history.'' In the final lecture, Eco responds to Rorty's assertions. This is high-level literary theory, expressed brilliantly, appropriate primarily for academic and large public libraries.-- Ann Irvine, Kensington Park Lib., Md.