By Theo D'haen, Rainer Grübel, Helmut Lethen

This paintings is a severe assessment of the suggestions of conference and innovation as utilized within the learn of adjusting literary values, hierarchies and canons. ways are analyzed: (1) the linking of conference and the subject's understanding of conference, and (2) structures idea. The advantages of either methods are mentioned and an try is made to mix them and to treat platforms of literary conversation essentially as structures of conventions. particular circumstances of fixing conventions and innovation are illustrated with examples from the sphere of versification (Rimbaud), reception reports (Puskin, Goethe, George Eliot), the dichotomy of forgetting/remembering (Nietzsche, Proust), avant-garde, the yankee dream, and well known genres assimilated in Postmodernism

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1985. " Poetics Today 6, 4: 643-656. ———. 1986. "The Semantic and Syntactic Organization of Postmodernist Texts," in Fokkema and Bertens 1986: 81-97. Fokkema, Douwe, and Hans Bertens, eds. 1986. Approaching Postmodernism Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins. Fowler, Alastair. 1982. Kinds of Literature: An Introduction to the Theory of Genres and Modes. Oxford: Clarendon Press. D. 1983. " New Literary History 14: 389409. Ibsch, Elrud. 1985. " SPIEL 4: 205-208. Jakobson, Roman. 1960. "Linguistics and Poetics," in Sebeok 1960: 350378.

If they do not just put up with a stipulative definition, but aim at a description of the text-type which encompasses the decisions by other readers as well, they will have to accept the thought that there is a mode of existence of "the" aphorism. An essentialist defini­ tion is then unavoidable. So, on the one hand each reader, using a term to denote a text-type, has a more or less systematic idea of what particular texts belong to that type, on the other hand readers at a different moment in history, and some­ times different readers at the same moment, will have varying criteria in mind for the same text-type.

But this philosophical debate should not be mixed up with the empirical study of literature. Both fields of reflection are valuable, but a mingling of criteria and purposes leads to the blurring of the issue in both cases, as witness some of Derrida's American followers. The propositions about the aphorism which have been sketched in the first sections of this essay belong to this kind of philosophical debate. From an empirical point of view they are not steps in the process of research, but part of the subject-matter available for investigation.

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