While discussing Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience, the purpose of poetry was brought into question. Arguments were made that, while having a degree of legitimacy in exploring meaningful underlying themes, the poetry of the book is likely to be over-analyzed in some cases. In dissecting the structure of the poems, the rhyming schemes of specific words, and among other intricacies, there may be evidence found that was unintentional by the author (in this case Blake). My main point of interest concerning this topic is the relationship between the value of textual evidence and the intention of the author.
Does the meaning behind the text come directly from the author or does it come from the perspective of the reader? If the reader pulls out a meaning supporting an idea had by the author when writing the text, but not evidence that was specifically by the author to support the idea, is the evidence still valuable?
This can also be applied to writings of novels to some extent. Are the ideas of the author the only one’s that govern the world they are depicting in their (lets say) fantasy novel? Or is it that once the words have been published they become something beyond the author’s control in a sense. That the words themselves are what hold the meaning and that the author was arranging them in an attempt to say something, but ultimately it is up to the reader to extrapolate what is valuable. I suppose the easy answer is that, to a degree, there is merit to both what the author intended and what the reader extrapolates. But that answer is more of a cop-out than a legitimate answer to the query. I think there is strong evidence to both, but I have yet to fully make up my mind.
Is the author the only source for meaning that is of value?
Or once a work has been published, can any meanings become valuable if well supported by evidence that is extrapolated?