What is meant by reader response theory according to Mikhail Bakhtin?

Expert Answers
thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mikhail Bakhtin is not considered a reader-response theorist. Instead, the most important figures in reader-response theory include Stanley Fish, Wolfgang Iser, and Hans-Robert Jauss. The key factor in reader-response theory is the notion that meaning is created not by the author, but by the reader. While some theorists emphasize the individual reader as the locus of meaning creation, Fish and his followers argue for the importance of interpretive communities while Jauss and Iser emphasize the importance of the historical horizon of expectations.

Mikhail Bakhtin (1895 – 1975) was a Russian Marxist literary critic, whose perspective is often described as dialogism. Hetends to look at meaning as creating in the situational interaction between a speaker and a listener. He is interested in how the "other" creates meaning within a dialogue. All language acts are seen by Bakhtin as rooted in polyphony and heteroglossia, both addressed to the other and incorporating utterances of the other.