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Philosophy - Philosophical Traditions | Collected Papers VI. Literary Reality and Relationships

Collected Papers VI. Literary Reality and Relationships

Series: Phaenomenologica, Vol. 206

Schutz, Alfred

Barber, Michael (Ed.)

2013, VI, 414 p.

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  • A collection of previously scattered works of Alfred Schutz, the most famous phenomenologist to have related phenomenology to the cultural sciences
  • All of Schutz's work presented in the volume have never appeared in English before 
  • Presents works from a neglected side of the Schutz corpus, namely writings on normative areas such as aesthetics and ethics

The three essays in this volume illuminate Alfred Schutz’s understanding of literature and literary relationships. The first, “Life Forms and Meaning Structures,” presents such ideal life-forms as duration, memory, the speaking ego, and the I in relation to the Thou. This essay also describes the fundamental nature of human experience, its pluralized realms, the passage of time, perspectival interpretation, action and its impediments—all concepts which make possible an understanding of literature and literary themes.  The essay goes on to discuss opera, and the relationship between music and language in opera.

The second essay, “The Problem of Personality in the Social World,” offers insights into the unity the social person achieves, temporality, and the role of the body and the importance of pragmatic relevances. This shows how, even before he arrived in the United States, Schutz went beyond his 1932 Phenomenology of the Social World in a pragmatic direction. This essay anticipates Schutz’s 1945 essay, “On Multiple Realities,” by discussing reality-spheres of working, phantasy, dreams, and theory.

Reality-spheres are vital for understanding literature, as shown in the third essay, which translates for the first time two Goethe manuscripts produced by Schutz in 1948. The first text, on Lehrjahre, reveals Schutz actually interpreting a piece of literature, tracing the themes of art and life and fate and freedom  through the text. The second, a commentary on Goethe’s Wanderjahre, presents an inchoate theory of literature. Defending Goethe’s 1829 version of the Wanderjahre novel, Schutz argues that critics miss the point that readers of literature adopt a specific kind of epoché in which they enter a reality-sphere governed by “the logic of the poetic event,” whose rules are not those of everyday life or theoretical contemplation.

In sum, this volume brings out the distinctive character of literary reality and the relationships between author and reader, and invites the reader to derive a sense of how Schutz himself read literature.  

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Alfred Schutz - equality - literature - multiple realities - phenomenology

Related subjects » Linguistics - Philosophical Traditions

Table of contents 

Editorial Introduction by Michael Barber; Life Forms and Meaning Structures; The Problem of Personality in the Social World”; Two Goethe Texts: “Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre” (Wilhelm Meister’s Year of Apprenticeship), and “Zu Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahren” (On Wilhelm Meister’s Years of Travel”)

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