Short, Mick, McIntyre, Dan, Bousfield, Derek and Jeffries, Lesley (2006) Interpretation. In: 26th Conference of the Poetics and Linguistics Association, 26th - 29th July 2006, University of Joensuu, Finland. (Unpublished)

Each of the ‘panel’ will give a brief introduction to their particular interest in interpretation, and this will be followed by some guided interpretative work on particular texts, to give the following discussion some common textual reference. Then, there will be an open forum to allow the participants and panellists to discuss a range of questions that arise in relation to the topic of textual interpretation. These are some of the questions that we might explore:
• Can a reader ‘get it wrong’ and what do we mean by this?
• In what conditions might one arrive at equally good but different interpretations?
• Are some valid interpretations more general than others?
• What is the relationship between personal response and textual interpretation?
• Is understanding reliant on precise decoding?
• Can we distinguish between topic and theme in texts, and if so, how?
• How can/do/should stylisticians investigate these questions in a reasonably rigorous manner?
The panel will be asking participants to read and respond to one or two short texts before this session, so that the discussion can focus around actual text analysis. We will distribute these at the beginning of the conference. We will be asking people to respond as a reader, not a linguist (though we are aware that this is difficult!). In other words, we would like a few sentences of interpretation, rather than a stylistic analysis.
Finally, there will be a short round-up at the end of the session, with the panellists summarising the events of the workshop and drawing some conclusions about a possible ‘model’ for interpretation as well as ideas about the possible next steps in research terms.

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