Upon going over this, I realize my response might be more closely associated with Fish's ideas, although more generally what I'm trying to get at is that if the theorists we've read looked more to incorporate than reject other theories, they might arrive at a more comprehensive and workable model. To that point, though, if we had a completely workable model we might arrive at Fish's point of theory then being totally uninteresting. Perhaps the failures of each model and the critiques it inspires are what keep the field interesting. To achieve harmony might be to kill with boredom.
The Author as Reader
I might be inclined to say that, for me, deciding which theoretical argument regarding authorship is ‘right’ is irrelevant. As each week we read several essays on opposite sides of a debate, it is clear that the field itself has not reached any consensus as to a ‘correct’ theory, nor, do I believe, it can (or should). As we go through the reading, I tend to prefer those theories that are more inclusive, expansive and open-ended. For this reason I gravitated toward modifying William Irwin’s position in “Against Intertextuality” to include and validate the Barthes/Kristeva position (if slightly modified) he tries to debunk. Irwin’s critique of the Barthes/Kristeva position leaves me convinced as to the importance of readership, but specifically in conjunction with the role of the author. Using the fact that “the reader can no more create meaning than the author can” as an argument against Barthes and Kristeva, Irwin in fact provides a situation that invites us to look at the opposite. If neither reader nor author has the authority to construe meaning, then, perhaps both do. When later, separating meaning and significance, he states “A text cannot have meaning x and meaning ~x at the same time, though it can have meaning x and significance ~x at the same time,” he offers the key to an interesting cooperation between the two stances. If Barthes and Kristeva believe the reader, not the author, construes meaning and Irwin refutes that stating both are empty vessels through which language speaks, then perhaps the real statement is that both author and reader are simply working with significances, that the author itself is really just a different kind of reader, creating his or her own reading of the text the same way each subsequent reader does (or at least can). Importance, then, becomes the infinite variety of significances, as opposed to a limiting/limited ‘meaning.’ This modified version of the Barthes/Kristeva model is most convincing to me because it is a coherent linking of author, text and reader, a relationship that I think is essential in determining meaning, intention, significance or whatever word to describe what a text can do. When asking whether a text means what the author meant or what the reader takes away, to emphasize either one over the other is to ignore the importance of the interaction.