Literature as Communication: The Foundations of Mediating Criticism

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John Benjamins Publishing, 2000 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 348 pages
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This book offers foundations for a literary criticism which seeks to mediate between writers and readers belonging to different historical periods or social groupings. This makes it, among other things, a timely intervention in the postmodern "culture wars," though the theory put forward will be of interest not only to students of literature and culture, but also to linguists. Sell describes communication in general as strongly interactive, as very much affected by the disparate situationalities of "sending" and "receiving," yet as by no means completely determined by them. Seen this way, men and women are both social beings and individuals, capable of empathizing with sociohistorical formations which are alien to them, sometimes even to the extent of changing their own life-world. By treating literary activity as communicational in this same dynamic sense, Sell radically modifies the main paradigms of twentieth-century literary theory, casting much new light on questions of genre, interpretation, affect and ethics.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
12 Main features of the theory proposed
2
13 Interdisciplinarity
4
the centrifugal and the centripetal
8
15 Positive mediation
12
16 Mediation and the discussion of literature
19
17 Wanted an appropriate literary pragmatics
21
AHistorical DeHumanization
29
42 Social individuals and their coadaptations
145
43 The protean self and communicative personae
158
Interactive Consequences
177
52 Generic coadaptations through time
178
53 Reliving biography and influence
193
54 Changes in politeness
207
55 Bidimensional beauties from history
230
Mediating Criticism
253

22 Structuralist linguistics
40
23 Alliances of literary formalism and linguistic thought
43
24 Speech act theory of literature
48
25 Formalist literary pragmatics
64
26 Some pros and cons
74
The Historically Human
77
33 Latetwentiethcentury linguistics
80
34 The written deed
83
35 From cultural structuralism and poststructuralism to postmodern stalemate
88
36 A historical yet nonhistoricist literary pragmatics
107
Literature as Communication
119
62 Trajectories of mediation
257
63 Inside and outside
258
64 What medium for mediation?
265
65 Dealing with conflict
266
66 A future for literature?
271
67 Scholarship and culture in symbiosis
277
Glossary
281
Bibliography
303
Name Index
333
Subject Index
341
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