Studying literature and being empirical: A multifaceted conjunction

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I begin with a distinction between rational, empirical and experimentally based types of theoretical claims or discourses. I go on to discuss the study of literary dynamics (or literary historiography) as a field of empirical activity involving the relations and correlations between texts and text models on the one hand and the contexts in which they occur on the other. This is illustrated with respect to literary production, mediation, initial reception and post-processing over time (Siegfried Schmidt’s four components of literary communication). I conclude with a list of theoretical and methodological tasks for current experimental as well as empirical studies of literature.


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