Archive for the ‘Historical Fiction’ Category

A Reader-Response Analysis of Janet Hudgins’ Treason: The Violation of Trust
by Lynn Perretta

This week, I am reviewing a work of Historical Fiction, okay, it is really a dramatic novelization of an individual from history, but we are not going to split hairs. I know that such a work screams for a New Historian analysis, but I already had one of those when I reviewed Marcia Gates. I am sure that I’ll revisit schools of criticism, but I want don’t want to do so until I’ve gotten to explore as many of them as I can.

Besides, I do not want to give Treason a New Historian treatment. It is deserving of one. I know that when I set out on this project, I said that I was not going to talk about my opinion, that I was going to keep it strictly on the academic analysis. I have to break that rule a little bit here. This book surprised me, and that, for me, lends this book to another school of criticism: reader-response.

Now, Reader-Response criticism is not about opinion. This school of criticism, you will recall, is about the interaction of the text and the reader. In that regard, the intention of the author matters not at all. In fact, we want to pretend, in this school of criticism, that the writer does not even exist. This work just spontaneously appeared one day out of the blue, showing up on Smashwords, Amazon, and other book-selling sites. So, as you continue on with me, do not ask yourself “What did Janet intend?” or “What was Ms. Hudgins thinking about when she wrote this scene?” or “This is very detailed, how long did Ms. Hudgins have to research this?” (The answer is 8 years, by the way.) Instead consider purchasing the book for yourself, and see if you have the same thoughts that I do in reading it.

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