Compare and contrast Iser’s theory of the gaps in literary text to that put forth by Macherey.

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Wolfgang Iser is one of the founders and leading proponents of reader response theory. This is a school of criticism which views a work of literature as a collaboration between the text and the reader. The text is therefore not the same as the work and ought not to be considered as an isolated artifact. The reader fills in the gaps in the literary text using his or her imagination (and possibly deductive skills and other intellectual processes). This clearly means that the literary work created will be different for every reader and probably every reading, since few people will read any text in exactly the same way twice.

Pierre Macherey agrees with Iser in placing as much emphasis on the reader as he does on the writer or the text. Rather than focusing on the collaboration between reader and text, however, Macherey regards the act of reading as an exercise of creation by itself. He sometimes seems even to regard the reader and the writer as being in competition, since the writer attempts to control the way in which his or her text can be interpreted, while the anarchic reader seeks and is able to interpret the text in other ways beyond the writer's control. Macherey focuses more on philosophical and political texts, meaning he is less interested in the imagination than Iyer and more concerned with radical political interpretations.

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