Study Guide

Hans Robert Jauss - Horizon Watchers

Horizon Watchers

This group of early risers wanted everyone to know that all readers disagree. This group's idea of a good time was reading the same book, jotting down a few thoughts about it, and then indulging in high hilarity about how diverse the responses were.

When that trick got old, they'd pick a genre—any genre, though they especially loved fantasy, fairy tales, and sci-fi—and would list all of the things they expected to find in a work of that genre (i.e., sci-fi involves other worlds, robots, the future, aliens…you get the point). Then they'd read a book and see how many of these qualities they'd recognize. There was no end to the fun.

Hans Robert Jauss
President and CEO

Word is that the election was not exactly legit. Jauss had to be the president because he came up with the phrase "horizon of expectation" in the first place. Other members often felt a little overshadowed. Jauss was known for being a little bit bossy and, as much as Jauss talked about readers being important, members of the group sometimes felt a little underappreciated for their ideas.

I.A. Richards
Resident Jokester

Members knew better than to mess with anyone named "I.A.," but that didn't mean that they agreed with everything he did. Some even said his tactics were a little unkind, like when he pulled out examples of his undergraduates' writing only to point out their gross misreadings of texts. Although he was into Reader-Response criticism, apparently he didn't agree that all readings are equally right.

Louise Rosenblatt
Pedagogue

Members of Horizon Watchers at times felt like they were walking on eggshells. On the one hand, you had I.A. Richards ready to point out errors; on the other hand, you had the schoolmarmish Louise, who was always telling teachers how to teach. She was so busy making sure that teachers didn't tell students how to interpret work (hands off my horizon!) that she didn't let teachers form any of their own ideas about pedagogy. She was a little domineering.

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