Overreading: Intentions, Mistakes and Lies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter investigates the freedom of reading and the constraints which might be applied to it. How do we discriminate between legitimate interpretations and errors or misreadings? Freud’s Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of his Childhood (1910) provides a magnificent example of a reading which is interpretively brilliant yet demonstrably wrong on important points. Intention is sometimes invoked as a means of regulating interpretation, yet the works of J.L. Austin and Jacques Derrida illustrate how intentions can be difficult, even impossible, to pin down. In the era of post-truth, it is more difficult and more important than ever to understand what can and cannot, should and should not, be claimed in the interpretation of artistic works, and the world in which we live.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLegibility in the Age of Signs and Machines
EditorsPepita Hesselberth, Janna Houwen, Esther Peeren, Ruby de Vos
Place of PublicationLeiden and Boston
PublisherBrill Rodopi
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-04-37617-5
ISBN (Print)978-90-04-37548-2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2018

Publication series

NameThamyris/Intersecting: Place, Sex and Race

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