more from W Wimsatt/W Beardsley

Single Idea 7266

[catalogued under 21. Aesthetics / C. Artistic Issues / 1. Artistic Intentions]

Full Idea

The design or intention of the author is neither available nor desirable as a standard for judging the success of a work of literary art.

Gist of Idea

The author's intentions are irrelevant to the judgement of a work's success


W Wimsatt/W Beardsley (The Intentional Fallacy [1946], žI)

Book Reference

'Philosophy Looks at the Arts', ed/tr. Margolis,Joseph [Charles Scribner 1962], p.92

A Reaction

This famous proposal may have been misunderstood. Note that it is a comment about judging the work, not about understanding it. The idea allows for a work being much more successful than the author's humble intentions (e.g. Pepys).