orientation (sociological)

Both the authorial and the sociological orientations are more “historical” than the aesthetic. […] Some representatives of the sociological orientation seem to adopt the authorial orientation, for they, too, speak of “the text the author wanted his public to have.” But when they say these words, they mean that authors do not usually want the public to read a manuscript and therefore willingly enter into working agreements with publishers and editors–indeed some employ wives, mistresses, and secretaries to help transform manuscripts into published forms for the public. […] The sociological orientation is revealed when the help given the author is noted as a social phenomenon, of interest and importance in itself, which is integral to the creative process. Social institutions, and perhaps the historical fact of collaborative production of literary works, take precedence over the author. […] The historical orientation is not a sufficient editorial principle, the sociologist insists, because unfinished works require the “actualizing” agency of publishing that the author would have initiated had the work been finished. Authority for the sociological orientation resides in the institutional unit of author and publisher.

Contributed by Jesse. View changelog.