By Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht

What are a few of the atmospheres or moods that the analyzing of literary works can set off? Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht has lengthy argued that the functionality of literature isn't really quite a bit to explain, or to re-present, as to make current. right here, he is going one step additional, exploring the substance and truth of language as a cloth component to the world—impalpable tricks, tones, and airs that, up to they are elusive, aren't any much less issues of tangible fact.

Reading, we find, is an experiencing of particular moods and atmospheres, or Stimmung. those moods are on a continuum similar to a musical scale. They current themselves as nuances that problem our powers of discernment and outline, in addition to language's strength to trap them. maybe the easiest we will be able to do is to indicate of their course. Conveying own encounters with poetry, track, portray, and the radical, this booklet hence gestures towards the intangible and within the procedure, constitutes a daring security of the subjective adventure of the arts.

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Literary studies cannot possibly remain the same after the loss of scholars with the distinction and intellectual vitality of Erich Auerbach, Kenneth Burke, Paul de Man, Jacques Derrida, LucienGoldmann, Wolfgang Iser, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Wolfgang Preisendanz, Richard Rorty, Edward Said, and Raymond Williams. Today, after manifold departures, reorganizations, and metamorphoses (which, as a rule, have not been motivated by any explicit program or project), we find ourselves facing marked—indeed, seemingly irreconcilable, mutually exclusive—differences between two basic assumptions concerning the ontology of literature.

Sensibility and reason combine to suspend the power that determines them both; that is, their antagonism produces a negation. This medium situation—in which the soul is neither physically nor morally constrained, yet is active in two ways—merits being called a state of freedom. Friedrich Hölderlin advanced a conception of Stimmung that differed from the views of his friends and contemporaries. For him, the word referred to sounds that were different from those of his own time and place, which he believed he had found in the world—and the works—of ancient Greece.

However, he certainly opposed the latter’s advocacy of “interpretation” as the central praxis of Geisteswissenschaften. Lukács demanded that essays deviate from the “scientific” goal of finding the truth. “It is right for the essayist to seek the truth,” Lukács wrote, “but he should do so in the manner of Saul. , the propositional content) that works are presumed to contain. An essay that concentrates on atmospheres and moods will never arrive at the truth located within a text; instead, it seizes the work as a part of life in the present.

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