Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
How does author relate to audience? This overarching question guided a case study focused on author Rick Norman and his novel Fielder’s Choice. Specific questions were (1) What was, and is, this author’s conception of his audience for the book? (2) How do members of the audience—specifically five high school students—respond to the novel? (3) How do the audience’s responses relate to the author’s stated intentions? Data came from the following sources: interviews with the author, the student readers, and the editor of the book; students’ written responses to the book and the author’s written reactions to those responses; an interactive dialogue between the author and the students; records and documents provided by the author; and reviews of the book. Data analysis employed Glaser and Strauss’s (1967) comparative method and Spradley’s (1979) developmental research sequence. Findings include the following: (1) This author saw his audience, which he portrayed as multi-faceted and dynamic, through the lens of self. He attributed to his audience his own characteristics when he originally planned and wrote the book and also when he talked about it ten years later. Self was at the center of his generic audience as well as his defined audience. (2) The audience of readers in this study varied in the extent to which they connected with the author. Most of them did, however, speculate about his intentions relative to the content as well as to text features. (3) Author intention and audience response did not always match. When mismatches were revealed in written and oral exchanges, subsequent dialogue between author and audience was directed to mutual understanding. The author wanted to learn what there was in his writing that led the readers to unintended meanings, and the readers wanted to learn why the author wrote as he did. This study, focused on author-audience relationship, fits into a growing body of work examining connections between reading and writing. Its uniqueness lies in its dual focus on both author intention and audience response and in the opportunities provided for author and audience to meet to discuss intentions and responses.
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Phares, Keitha Ilene, "The relationship between author and audience: case study of a young-adult author and a student audience" (2002). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 1596.