The mediation of interpretive criteria in literary criticism
The present thesis is concerned with the mostly implicit ways in which literary criticism suggests that certain interpretive criteria are relevant in the interpretation of a literary text. To explore and illustrate these ways a qualitative and in-depth analysis of two academic literary critical essays on King Lear with different theoretical and critical orientations is carried out. To provide a disciplinary framework for the study, a number of different approaches to the study of written language are examined. In addition, a number of reading models and models of literary interpretation are reviewed. On the basis of this review the hermeneutical orientation of the study is specified as one which considers the interpretation of written texts as a process of negotiation involving the text, the writer, readers and the situational, institutional and socio-cultural context. The review also provides evidence by which relevant analytical questions are specified. The analysis is geared towards the description and tentative comparison of the linguistic strategies with which the critics imply a certain particular notion of the literary text, the literary author, the critic, the implied readers and the context and suggest that one, or a combination, of these entities has the decisive role in interpretation. A major finding of the analysis is that, despite apparently different theoretical and critical orientations, the critics rely on highly similar interpretive criteria and use highly similar linguistic strategies to suggest that the literary text is an embodiment of meaning and an active force constraining interpretation. This finding raises the interesting issue of whether literary critics share more generally their interpretive criteria and strategies, and, if this is true, what the social and institutional motives and uses of such discourse are. Another important issue to be considered is to what extent the similarity of criteria and strategies derives from language itself, from its metaphors for hermeneutic activity. ...
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Fenyvesi, Kristóf (University of Jyväskylä, 2012)
Ylitalo, Riikka (University of Jyväskylä, 2015)
Manninen, Paavo (Helsinki, 2019)
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