Laura Maxwell (English 111, 1994)

Roland Barthes's units of text, or lexias, are a useful parallel to Anglo-Saxon formulae. Barthes pointed out that any interpretation of the text has to move outside the text so as to refer to the reader: the text has no meaning until someone reads it, and to make sense it must be interpreted, which is to say related to the reader's world -- which is not to say read whimsically or with no reference to the writer's world. One might describe the situation this way: since any given time is situated in the totality of all time, a text, deposited by its author in a given time, is ipso facto related to all times, having implications which can be unfolded only with the passage of time, inaccessible to the consciousness of the author or author's coevals, though not necessarily absent from their subconscious.

Ong, Orality and Literacy, 162