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The method of reading a poet by reading his/her intended audience has a
history, and for the most part it is unsatisfactroy. About 60 years ago
B. Rajan wrote a book on PL and the 17th-c reader. That "reader"
expected such & such and therefore such & such is what a given feature
of PL means. Robert Adams in _IKON_ later noted that, in practice, Rajan
had to admit that the poem created its own reader rather than responded
to an existing one. (I'm going by memory -- I read this stuff back in
the '70s.) That is, Rajan had in fact started out with a preconception
of the 'meaning' of PL, then assumed a reader that would have searched
for that meaning, than asserted that meaning in terms of what that
reader would have searched for. Most unsatisfactory.

The process of such interpretation is almost always circular, and
usually a vicious circle. You start out with an assumption as to an
intended reader, then interpret the poem so as to reveal the reader by
whom you have just interpreted the poem. 

Carrol