The paper aims to analyze the problem of the identification of literary texts in light of the findings of contemporary cultural theory. After a brief analysis of the transition from the traditional ‘essentialist’ approach to different positions associated with post-modern literary criticism, it reformulates this problem in intentionalist and cognitive terms. The paper defines its goal as the formalization of those interpretative codes and procedures, which the subjects of contemporary culture use for the identification of literary works — even though, in most cases, they do this non-consciously. Although these procedures are collective, and their results are highly predictable, on the formal level they turn out to be quite complex and multi-parametric. Correspondingly, the paper analyzes the major parameters involved in these procedures of identification, their formal meaning and the difficulties that arise from their use. These are the parameters of ‘diminished referentiality,’ ‘the recursive function of discourse,’ and ‘the attenuated pragmatic orientation.’ In addition, as the paper demonstrates, the influence of the effective combinations of these parameters is different for versified and prosaic discursive segments. In the concluding sections of the paper, the impact of different combinations of these parameters is analyzed through the use of distributive tables. These tables show that in most cases there exists a one-to-one correspondence between the stable combinations of these parameters and the results of the identification of corresponding texts. This result, in turn, means that the non-conscious procedures of the identification of literary texts, however historically conditioned, can be formalized and analyzed by cultural research.
|Translated title of the contribution
|What is Literature? and Contemporary Cultural Theory
|International Journal of Cultural Research
|Published - 2011