Monday, May 06, 2019

Sitz im leben matters

We must read as if the temporal and executive setting of a text does matter. The historical surroundings, the cultural and formal circumstances, the biological stratum, what we can construe or conjecture of an author’s intentions, constitute vulnerable aids. We know that they ought to be stringently ironized and examined for what there is in them of subjective hazard. They matter none the less. They enrich the levels of awareness and enjoyment; they generate constraints on the complacencies and licence of interpretative anarchy.—George Steiner, No Passion Spent, page 34

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