readers lives also
it is the old fashioned way to do it, despite the various formalisms out there.
i'd say that language doesn't just exist on the page--it's a social act itself.
there's also the saying that good writers are good readers.
but it is not just the writer's lives that need to be talked about, but also the reader's lives as well. a conservative christian reader may have no problem with t.s. elliot's elitism whereas you, being a reader with a different set of values, will...and it is fair to say that one reads a book or an essay or a story in hopes that it sheds some clarity on one's life and interpret what is going on in one's own...and those interpretations leak into, consciously or unconsciosly, into what is written.