Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 1976


The reader is the central concern of reader response criticism, especially of the Iiterature-in-the-Reader Approach of Stanley Fish. Fish claims that his Affective Stylistics is only a descriptive method, and he disavows any evaluative potential for its description of the structure of the reader's response. However, on several levels Affective Stylistics contains implicit values: definitional, prescriptive, comparative, and ethical. Therefore, an evaluative tendency is inherent in the method. In fact, an examination of the premises and practice of Affective Stylistics shows that disorientation during the reading process is seen as both a literary and an ethical criterion of evaluation. This disorientation is valued because of its consequences for the reader's growth (the ultimate concern of Affective Stylistics). Far from being the evaluatively-neutral methodology that Fish claims, Affective Stylistics is a moral approach to literature in and of itself.

Recommended Citation

Mailloux, Steven J. “Evaluation and Reader Response Criticism: Values Implicit in Affective Stylistics.” Style, Vol. 10, No. 3, 1976, Pp. 329–343.