Authors
William Irwin
Kings College
Abstract
Authorial and artistic declarations would seem to be a boon to interpreters who favor actual intentionalism. However, because they believe there are limits on the power of authors and artists to embody their intentions in their works, moderate actual intentionalists hold that some intentions are irrelevant. Looking closely at authorial declaration about the sexuality of Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter novels, I argue in favor of the extreme actual intentionalist position that genuine authorial declarations should not be ignored because authorial intention always determines meaning. The answer to the question in the subtitle is that we do not know with certainty, even though there is a definite right answer. We can argue for the answer we think is most likely, however. And aided by the distinction between meaning and significance, extreme actual intentionalism provides a clear and consistent way of making such arguments while avoiding the problem of being stuck with an interpretation we find aesthetically displeasing
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DOI 10.1111/jaac.12158
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