An important transitional book, usefully summarizing the past and thoughtfully mapping out the future of a significant critic's theoretical project.
There is a much greater emphasis on the reader's function as 'performer' of the text in Prospecting than in Iser's other books. The two brilliant chapters on Beckett's fiction and drama are crucial here... Literature becomes 'play' and 'game,' and the reader becomes a performer of himself. This idea of performance becomes central to Iser's new theory. Art does not present life; it performs it.
Prospecting contains fine examples of Iser's ability to relate theoretical issues to analyses of individual works. It will deservedly enhance his reputation as a critic and theorist who writes with equal skill and learning about Renaissance, Neoclassic, and modernist texts.