Volume 48, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0035-3906
  • E-ISSN: 1600-0811
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This article pursues the analysis of Hans Robert Jauss’s conception of “Aesthetic Experience”, as developed in Ästhetische Erfahrung und literarische Hermeneutik. The critical implication of hermeneutics in literary analysis is still considered problematic. In his book, Jauss goes beyond disciplinary limits and asserts that a hermeneutical methodology is in fact relevant in postmodern literary theory. He then provides the principles of this approach : historical consciousness and dialectical hermeneutics are here considered to be the main events involved in the act of interpretation, for they broaden one’s understanding of the text. This study, divided into two parts — theoretical and literary —, examines first the conceptual nature of “Aesthetic Experience”. It then presents an example of one of Jauss’s most important hermeneutical essays : a comparative reading of The Sorrows of Young Werther and The New Héloïse. We wish to prove the relevance of literary hermeneutics and the significance of its application, a process that understands the author “better than he understood himself”.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): aesthetic experience; Goethe; Jauss; literary hermeneutics; Rousseau; understanding
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