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Quentin Skinner Essay

Decent Essays
“Up for Interpretation or What is This Thing that Hearsay Is Not?” is a journal article about how an using the argument of another author in one’s work is fine as long as it is an interpretation of the original author’s work. Quentin Skinner and Christopher Ricks have different backgrounds in academia and therefore have different approaches to their common claim. Although both authors have the same claim, they approach it from different angles and are able to analyze texts differently. Quentin Skinner’s main argument is that “the act of interpretation principally consists in trying to identify the nature of the intervention that some given text may be said to constitute” (Skinner 1). Skinner is a historian of belief systems prevailing in early modern Europe and treats adaptations as contributions to preexisting texts. Co-author Christopher Ricks has a different main argument than Skinner. Ricks’ main argument is “about texts and editing and exactly what was written” (Ricks 5). Ricks forms his argument from a literary viewpoint rather than a philosophical viewpoint like his co-author Skinner. Skinner develops his claim by referring to Machiavelli’s The Prince. He analyzes how Machiavelli quotes Cicero’s argument and challenges it. Skinner states “what is required is nothing more than an…show more content…
He says that “they’re very clear about their belief that there is no way in which the invoking of an author’s intention could contribute to judging a work of literature”. This applies to Ricks’ literary viewpoint because he analyzes how the way something is judged depends on how the reader interprets it. Ricks also supports his argument by analyzing Samuel Beckett’s “Ceiling”. Ricks discusses how the writing is difficult to understand textually because it is an interpretative crux and doesn’t arrive at a proof. Therefore, Wimsatt and Beardsley’s argument is original because of its
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