Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 4, 2014

Observationen und Relationen. Text – Wissen – Kontext in literaturtheoretischer und praxeologischer Perspektive

Ralf Klausnitzer

Abstract

Central problems in the disciplines that interpret texts and signs are a consequence of the knowledge that is discovered and used in various ways of dealing with texts and contexts. In order to survey this area of difficulty, the challenge posed by various kinds of relationship between ›texts‹ and contextual ›environments‹ is first discussed, before relations between ›literature‹ and ›knowledge‹ are modelled. In a final step, ›observing‹ (Beobachten) is presented as an epistemic practice that is of indispensable significance in the creation of text-context relationships. That is to say: observations are made and presented by authors, characters in texts, and speaking voices, are (re)enacted by recipients in various ways, and are realized on different levels of literary communication, and they produce the fundamental acts of discrimination that make it possible in the first place to form textual worlds and orientate oneself in them. Because observations also play a central role in the construction and use of contexts, they make it possible to reconceptualize the relationship between literature and knowledge with reference to fundamental practices of observing, and that is what is attempted here.

A central area of difficulty in literary studies, and one that was much discussed long before the end of the twentieth century, involves the multiplicity of the elements of knowledge that play a role in how »texts« and »contexts« are dealt with and the complex relations between them and those that observe them. Simplifying to make the point, and setting the details aside, these problems – for there are many – can be drawn together in a single question: under what conditions and by what means can we identify and delineate elements of knowledge that are relevant when it comes to drawing productive and plausible connections between texts and (parts) of contexts?

This question has consequences that are not to be underestimated – for both the theory and the practice of critically grounded ways of dealing with texts. For one thing, the quantity of (various kinds of) knowledge and epistemic procedures that can be drawn on when dealing with literary texts and their ›environments‹ cannot be underestimated. On the contrary: almost every engagement with textual worlds and their content has something to do with knowledge. Elements of knowledge are taken for granted or acquired, problematized and discussed, but also ignored and dismissed, in every action involving texts and contexts. Clarifications of the underlying concepts of knowledge are therefore just as necessary as internal distinctions. For another, there are no intrinsic limits to the linking of texts and contexts: a text or an element of a text can in principle be linked with anything that might occur to a reader or an interpreter. Given the per se unlimited possibilities for producing text-context relations, there is a need for rules that define the actual text, as it manifests itself in generic terms and with the conditions in which it originated, as a quantity that conditions the construction of contexts – rules that in the process guide, above all, the operations of observing and apportioning (hierarchized) elements of the textual and non-textual ›environments‹ of a text. Last but not least, it remains to be explained why enquiries into the links between literature and knowledge are made at all – we often know nothing at all about what to do with all the knowledge that accrues in various ways of handling texts. After a brief discussion of the clusters of problems outlined above, the thesis is advanced here that a state of sustained alertness to the epistemic dimensions of texts and contexts can help to grasp the acts of observation that are specific to literature and literary communication – which should make it possible to draw up, alongside a more precise concept of knowledge, formulas that can be put into practice for observing observations.

To achieve the necessary succinctness and concision in surveying the (rather complex) area of difficulty that has thus been outlined, the following discussion is presented in three sections. In a first step, I would like to explain briefly why the relationships between ›texts‹ and their contextual ›environments‹ present the disciplines that interpret texts and signs with a challenge. In a second step, I model the complex relationships between ›literature‹ and ›knowledge‹ as forms of relation between text and context, and in the process consider various solutions that have been put forward in the context of epistemology and literary theory. In a third and final step, I would like to present ›observing‹ as an epistemic practice that is of indispensable significance in the creation of text-context relationships. That is to say: observations are made and presented by authors, characters in texts, and speaking voices, are (re)enacted by recipients in various ways, and are realized on different levels of literary communication, and they produce the fundamental acts of discrimination that make it possible in the first place to form textual worlds and orientate oneself in them and, likewise, in their contexts. Precisely because observations also and primarily play a central role in the construction and use of contexts when texts are handled by specialists, they make it possible to reconceptualize the relationship between literature and knowledge, and the relations between ›texts‹ and ›contexts‹, with reference to fundamental practices of observing, and that is what is attempted here.

Anmerkung

Abstract translated by Alastair Matthews.

Literatur

Alewyn, Richard, Das Problem der Generationen in der Geschichte, Zeitschrift für deutsche Bildung 5 (1929), 519–527. Search in Google Scholar

Aristoteles, Poetik, übersetzt von Manfred Fuhrmann, Stuttgart 1994. Search in Google Scholar

Boeckh, August, Encyklopädie und Methodologie der philologischen Wissenschaften, hg. von Ernst Bratuschek, Leipzig 1877. Search in Google Scholar

Daston, Lorraine/Elizabeth Lunbeck (Hg.), Histories of Scientific Observation, Chicago 2011. Search in Google Scholar

Dilthey, Wilhelm, Das Erlebnis und die Dichtung. Lessing – Goethe – Novalis – Hölderlin, Leipzig 1906. Search in Google Scholar

Fohrmann, Jürgen, Das Versprechen der Sozialgeschichte (der Literatur), in: Martin Huber/Gerhard Lauer (Hg.), Nach der Sozialgeschichte. Konzepte für eine Literaturwissenschaft zwischen Historischer Anthropologie, Kulturgeschichte und Medientheorie, Tübingen 2000, 105–112. Search in Google Scholar

Gittel, Benjamin, Lebendige Erkenntnis und ihre literarische Kommunikation. Robert Musil im Kontext der Lebensphilosophie, Münster 2013. Search in Google Scholar

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang, Die Leiden des jungen Werthers, Leipzig 1774. Search in Google Scholar

–, Die Wahlverwandtschaften, in: J.W.G., Sämtliche Werke, Bd. 8: Romane I, hg. von Waltraud Wiethölter, Frankfurt a. M. 1994, 271–529. Search in Google Scholar

Greenblatt, Stephen, Schmutzige Riten. Betrachtungen zwischen Weltbildern, Berlin 1991. Search in Google Scholar

Heyne, Christian Gottlob, Lobschrift auf Winkelmann: welche bey der Hessen Casselischen Gesellschaft der Alterthümer den ausgesezten Preis erhalten hat, Leipzig 1778. Search in Google Scholar

Honold, Alexander, Hölderlins Kalender. Astronomie und Revolution um 1800, Berlin 2005. Search in Google Scholar

Kafka, Franz, Historisch-Kritische Ausgabe sämtlicher Handschriften, Drucke und Typoskripte. Der Process, hg. von Roland Reuß und Peter Staengle, Frankfurt a. M./Basel 1997. Search in Google Scholar

Korff, Hermann August, Geist der Goethezeit. Versuch einer ideellen Entwicklung der klassisch-romantischen Literaturgeschichte, Bd. 1: Sturm und Drang [1923], Leipzig 81966; Bd. 2: Klassik [1930], Leipzig 81966; Bd. 3: Frühromantik [1940], Leipzig 71966; Bd. 4: Hochromantik [1953], Leipzig 71966. Search in Google Scholar

Koschorke, Albrecht, Körperströme und Schriftverkehr. Mediologie des 18. Jahrhunderts, München 1999. Search in Google Scholar

Krämer, Olav, Intention, Korrelation, Zirkulation. Zu verschiedenen Konzeptionen der Beziehung zwischen Literatur, Wissenschaft und Wissen, in: Tilmann Köppe (Hg.), Literatur und Wissen – Theoretisch-methodische Zugänge, Berlin/New York 2011, 77–115. Search in Google Scholar

Petersen, Julius, Die literarischen Generationen, in: Emil Ermattinger (Hg.), Philosophie der Literaturwissenschaft, Berlin 1930, 130–187. Search in Google Scholar

Pethes, Nicolas, Literatur- und Wissenschaftsgeschichte. Ein Forschungsbericht, IASL 28:1 (2003), 181–231. Search in Google Scholar

Poe, Edgar Allan, Der Doppelmord in der Rue Morgue [1841], in: Edgar Allan Poes Werke. Gesamtausgabe der Dichtungen und Erzählungen, Bd. 3: Verbrechergeschichten, hg. von Theodor Etzel, übersetzt von Gisela Etzel, Berlin 1922, 26–82. Search in Google Scholar

Richter, Karl, Literatur und Naturwissenschaft. Eine Studie zur Lyrik der Aufklärung, München 1972. Search in Google Scholar

Schäffner, Wolfgang, Die Ordnung des Wahns. Zur Poetologie psychiatrischen Wissens bei Alfred Döblin, München 1995. Search in Google Scholar

Schlaffer, Heinz, Poesie und Wissen. Die Entstehung des ästhetischen Bewußtseins und der philologischen Erkenntnis [1990], Frankfurt a. M. 2005. Search in Google Scholar

Staiger, Emil, Die Zeit als Einbildungskraft des Dichters. Untersuchungen zu Gedichten von Brentano, Goethe und Keller, Zürich/Leipzig 1939. Search in Google Scholar

Szondi, Peter, Über philologische Erkenntnis [Zur Erkenntnisproblematik in der Literaturwissenschaft, 1962], in: P.S., Hölderlin-Studien. Mit einem Traktat über philologische Erkenntnis, Frankfurt a. M. 1967, 9–34. Search in Google Scholar

Theisen, Bianca, Zur Emergenz literarischer Formen, in: Thomas Wägenbaur (Hg.), Blinde Emergenz? Interdisziplinäre Beiträge zu Fragen kultureller Evolution, Heidelberg 2000. Search in Google Scholar

Thomé, Horst, Autonomes Ich und ›Inneres Ausland‹. Studien über Realismus, Tiefenpsychologie und Psychiatrie in deutschen Erzähltexten (1848–1914), Tübingen 1993. Search in Google Scholar

Unger, Rudolf, Literaturgeschichte als Problemgeschichte. Zur Frage geisteshistorischer Synthese, mit besonderer Beziehung auf Wilhelm Dilthey [1924], in: R.U., Aufsätze zur Prinzipienlehre der Literaturgeschichte. Gesammelte Studien, Bd. 1, Berlin 1930, 137–170. Search in Google Scholar

–, Literaturgeschichte und Geistesgeschichte, DVjs 4 (1926), 177–192. Search in Google Scholar

Vogl, Joseph, Für eine Poetologie des Wissens, in: Karl Richter/Jörg Schönert/Michael Titzmann (Hg.), Die Literatur und die Wissenschaften 1770–1930, Stuttgart 1997, 107–129. Search in Google Scholar

–, Einleitung, in: J.V. (Hg.), Poetologien des Wissens um 1800, München 1999, 9–15. Search in Google Scholar

Wolf, Friedrich August, Vorlesung über die Encyklopädie der Alterthumswissenschaft [1798], hg. von J.D. Gürtler, Leipzig 1839. Search in Google Scholar

Wundt, Wilhelm, Grundzüge der physiologischen Psychologie [1874], Bd. 1, Leipzig 61908. Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2014-7-4
Published in Print: 2014-6-1

© 2012 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston