There are different senses of “meaning” here. There is the subjective sense of “what it meant to him” and also the “what it means” (“what he means by this”) in terms of communication to the reader. There are difficulties in ascribing agency to the text independent of the author’s communicative efforts or of the reader’s reconstructive ones. It seems to me from your response that the second definition above is one that you would ascribe to textual agency. The first is easy to dismiss as naive, but there are always affective similarities between the creative acts of writing and reading, or such is one suggestive bit I took away from reader response theory.

Again, though, I think it’s clear from your post exactly what you had in mind re the intentional fallacy, and I understand why you would choose to raise it in the class at that time. But IJ, to me, asks (textual agency!) to be read in a philological manner and its considerable artifice asks for reconstruction of intent in manner that goes beyond the text’s internal logic.

I also see an equal horror in his work of the possibility that the self is transparent to others, however dark the mirror.