Dissertation Information for Amy Pattee
MPACT Status: Fully Complete
Title: Everywhere, or a reflection? Describing the "Sweet Valley High" experience
Abstract: This proposed investigation can be summarized in the following question: If, as Rosenblatt argues, readers create poems that evoke the meanings they make of literary texts, and the poems made around the same work of literature share "essences," how would we describe the essence of the Sweet Valley High experience, as remembered by a community of readers? Clearly, the essence of the "SVH" experience is under the influence of a number of factors, including the construction of the core texts themselves as well as the cultural milieu in which each reader is situated. Thus, the description of the "SVH" experience will be a description not only of the texts and the readers' poems, but of the readers themselves and the historical conditions of the readers' and the texts' production. This investigation is an example of intertextual hermeneutic inquiry, culminating in the suggestion of a grounded theory. A comparison of the "voices" of the readers, the voice of the series, the influencing "voice" of the cultural milieu, and my own experiences as both a reader and a critic will culminate in the description of a common and communal reading experience. The idea of a dispersed interpretive community, linked via a common experience with a text and not as scholars of or adherents to a critical theory, is one that may apply to similar bodies of texts or to pockets of devotees to specific literary genres.
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