Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2011


This article examines the disjunction between, on the one hand, critical theory’s critique of the privileging of authorial intent in protocols of textual interpretation, and, on the other hand, continued obeisance to authorial intent in composition textbooks and pedagogy. By unpacking the implications of this disjunction, I show the limitations that the reification of authorial intent creates for composition pedagogy and student writing. I conclude by suggesting how bracketing authorial intent in the composition classroom might enhance composition pedagogy and student writing, while also challenging fundamental epistemologies of the field.


This article was originally published in Composition Forum, volume 24, in 2011.

Peer Reviewed



The author

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.