Types of Interpretation in the Aesthetic Disciplines

Types of Interpretation in the Aesthetic Disciplines

Staffan Carlshamre
Anders Pettersson
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 200
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  • Book Info
    Types of Interpretation in the Aesthetic Disciplines
    Book Description:

    Five Swedish scholars and theorists from different disciplines - literary studies, philosophy, and art history - discuss the multiplicity of principles of interpretation and provide a descriptive analysis of the concept of interpretation itself that clarifies the main features of the rationale underlying the interpretation of literature and the arts. Their discussion provides a much-needed bridge between analytical aesthetics and theoretical discussion within the individual aesthetic disciplines. The introduction and concluding remarks by the editors provide both a frame for discussion of the issues and a historical perspective on the debates about interpretation.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7097-9
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
    Staffan Carlshamre and Anders Pettersson
  4. INTRODUCTION: The Multiplicity of Interpretation and the Present Collection of Essays
    (pp. 3-29)
    Anders Pettersson

    In the course of the twentieth century, interpretation has become of more and more absorbing interest to critics and scholars of literature, art, theatre, and so on. Rightly or not, it has begun to be regarded by many as the centrepiece of the academic study of literature and the arts.

    It is only natural, therefore, that the theory of interpretation has come to attract more and more attention both in the aesthetic disciplines themselves and in philosophical aesthetics. With the passage of time, several influential, mutually divergent approaches to the problems of interpretation theory have been worked out and refined...

  5. 1 What Is an Interpretation?
    (pp. 30-51)
    Torsten Pettersson

    The practice and nature of interpretation have called forth an impressive array of studies. They range from specialized treatments in the particularly prolific field of literary theory – exemplified by E.D. Hirsch’sValidity in Interpretation(1967) and P.D. Juhl’sInterpretation(1980) – through more diversified studies in anthologies such asInterpretation and Overinterpretation(1992) andThe Philosophy of Interpretation(1999) to the magisterial philosophical synthesis of Joseph Margolis’sInterpretation Radical but Not Unruly(1995).¹ But whatever their focus, insights, or differences, these discussions and numerous others have one thing in common: they fail to define their subject. Apparently the concept of interpretation...

  6. 2 Five Kinds of Literary and Artistic Interpretation
    (pp. 52-81)
    Anders Pettersson

    The objective of this essay is to develop and substantiate the idea that interpretations in the aesthetic disciplines are of many different types, and that that fact is of considerable importance for the theory of interpretation. First I shall, later in this section, introduce two artworks: Kafka’s short story “The Judgement” and Manet’s paintingA Bar at the Folies-Bergère. Using actual critical statements about those works as examples, I shall then point to five kinds of interpretive activities that follow partly different rules (section 2). Finally, I shall argue that the concept of interpretation is comprehensive enough to cover all...

  7. 3 The Tree of Interpretation
    (pp. 82-111)
    Göran Rossholm

    Webster’s dictionary divides the entry of “to interpret” into three sections:

    1. To explain the meaning of; to expound; to translate, as from an unknown or foreign language into one’s own; to explain or unfold the intent, meaning, or reasons of; to make clear; to free from obscurity or mystery; to make intelligible; to decipher; as tointerpretthe French language to an American; tointerpreta dream; tointerpreta passage of the Scripture.

    2. To represent artistically; to portray or make clear by representation; as, an actorinterpretsa character in a drama; a musicianinterpretsa piece...

  8. 4 Types of Types of Interpretation
    (pp. 112-137)
    Staffan Carlshamre

    It is a presupposition of this volume that there are different types of interpretation and that many problems in the theory of interpretation stem from a failure to recognize this fact.

    Noting the multiplicity of types of interpretation naturally gives rise to an impulse to chart the differences and create a typology. Equipped with this, we would, hopefully, be in a better position to sort controversies into verbal and real, both among theories of interpretation (theories about different things may be different without contradicting each other) and among interpretations (interpretations belonging to different types need not conflict). Encountering two parties...

  9. 5 Interpreting Visual Art: Performance and Articulation
    (pp. 138-164)
    Margaretha Rossholm Lagerlöf

    In the spring of 1994 I visited the Brügge museum. I looked at Jan van Eyck’sVan der Paele Madonnafrom 1436. This painting aroused in me a very strong and strange feeling. My later attempts to analyse the characteristic aspects of the sensation produced the following thoughts:

    It was synaesthetic, but not in that the image symbolically referred to other senses. It was rather that the visual effect was so strong that it somehow indirectly seemed to stimulate other senses.

    The imaginary quality of the painting, its represented world, could still be sensed even very close to the painting....

  10. 6 Some Metareflections
    (pp. 165-180)
    Staffan Carlshamre

    The contributions to this volume spring from discussions among a larger group of people, united by an interest in art, in the interpretation of art, and in the relations between different types of interpretation. We came from different academic disciplines, but we also had diverging backgrounds in different philosophical traditions. Some of us had roots in analytical philosophy (again of different kinds), some in phenomenology and the sorts of hermeneutics associated with Heidegger and Gadamer, and some came from semiology. Others, again, were more eclectic. In view of the fact that we started from such different locations, and used such...

  11. Index
    (pp. 181-184)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 185-185)