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intentional fallacy

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A phrase coined by the American New Critics W. K. Wimsatt Jr and Monroe C. Beardsley in an essay of 1946 to describe the common assumption that an author's declared or assumed intention in writing a work is a proper basis for deciding upon the work's meaning or value. These critics argued that once a work is published, it has an objective status and its meanings belong to the reading public. Any surmise about the author's intention thus has to be tested against the evidence of the text itself.

Subjects: Literature

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