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By Douwe W. Fokkema †, Elrud Ibsch

The authors current a brand new standpoint on a variety of matters within the examine of literature and tradition. a few of the issues mentioned, reminiscent of interpretation, canon formation, and literary historiography, belong to the normal area of literary stories. Others ― cultural id, conference, platforms thought, and empirical tools ― originate within the social sciences and at the moment are being built-in into the arts. through pertaining to the paintings of authors as generally aside as Hayden White, Edward acknowledged, Fredric Jameson, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Reinhart Koselleck, Pierre Bourdieu, Niklas Luhmann, Siegfried Schmidt, Norbert Groeben, etc, the complete complexity of the sphere of literary reviews turns into apparent.The authors argue for a contrast among research of literary platforms at the one hand and demanding intervention at the different. by way of distinguishing among examine and feedback, among wisdom and dedication, they provide new methods for literary experiences in addition to for cultural critique.

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Extra resources for Knowledge and Commitment: A Problem Oriented Approach to Literary Studies

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Simple answers cannot be expected since values are contingent (cf. Herrnstein Smith 1988). However, that does not mean that within the various cultural traditions they also are arbitrary. Tradition is all that we have, Lamarque and Olsen seem to argue, positing that “the concept of literature is defined by the values which the works of the tradition embody” (1994: 450). The question of the persistence of certain thematic contents related to the more private spheres of life — love and death, family relations, the dilemmas of individuals as they confront the wider world — is an important research topic.

We may recall here that China has a tradition of canon formation that shows at least as much awareness of the process of canonization as the European tradition. For instance Zhi Yu (d. 311), compiler of an anthology, emphasized the moral, cognitive, and emotive functions of literature in a way that coincides with our emphasis on its significance for the private domains of life, and for the relation between the subject and its social and natural environment: Literary writings are the means by which one manifests images of superior and inferior, illuminates the order of human relationships, investigates inner principles and exhaustively [expresses] one’s nature, in order to examine what is proper to the myriad phenomena.

Usually, an interpretive discourse is defended, among other things, by an appeal to elements of the text. Let us recall the example of the duck-rabbit picture, the figure with which the dependence of perception on perspective is usually demonstrated. With regard to the potential of the form, the perception of either a duck or a rabbit is arguable; but the perception of an elephant in the same figure would require other defensive strategies. An elephant might be imagined, but it will require much more persuasive strategies and negotiation to reach the consent of other interpreters.

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