The reader of defamatory texts

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In many, especially English, defamation cases, the court often speaks of "the average reader", "the reasonable reader" or similar concepts, which does not refer to any flesh-and-blood reader of the defamatory text, but is a type of construct of what the court thinks would be the normal reaction of a person to an allegedly defamatory text. This concept is compared to a similar phenomenon found in literary theory in the persona of the implied reader, created by the (implied) author as having a given set of values which will lead to an appreciative interpretation of the literary work. The paper compares the parallel concepts in the two fields.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-158
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal for the Semiotics of Law
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Law


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