Understanding Literature: The Eminent Text and its Role in Understanding

Patrick Martin

Abstract


This paper examines the difference between everyday speech

and the poetic. What are the implications for understanding of

introducing this literary shift to the mode of being of the text? In what

sense does literature become a privileged object of study for philosophical

hermeneutics? These questions are engaged with by focusing on a passage

from Truth and Method , where Gadamer maintains that the artwork «like

any other text […] requires understanding». We will throughout the paper

suggest different ways of understanding this statement. Our focus upon

this passage is occasioned by a seeming discrepancy between Truth and

Method and Gadamer’s later essays on literature. Whereas he, in the

former, argues for a wide notion of literature; he, in the latter, testifies to a

crucial difference between literature and writing, arguing for a narrow

notion of literature.

These questions are engaged with by focusing on a passage from Truth and Method, where Gadamer maintains that the artwork « like any other text […] requires understanding ». We will throughout the paper suggest different ways of understanding this statement.


Keywords


Gadamer; Hermeneutics; Aesthetics; Literature; Text

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Metodo. International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy
Published by sdvig press, Genève-Lausanne
ISSN  2281-9177

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