Literature with Other Arts
Edited By Haun Saussy and Gerald Gillespie
The Application of Literature and of Music
Umeå University, Sweden
The Concept of Application
By “application” in connection with literature and the arts, I refer to something that readers, viewers, and listeners may do: they may apply a work of art to the real world. To perform an act of application is to focus on an attitude expressed in a work of art, or a state of affairs described there, and to ask yourself, implicitly or explicitly, whether you share those attitudes, whether similar states of affairs can be found in real life, and suchlike. By performing acts of application you establish and evaluate comparisons between the work of art and the world outside the work. It is the focusing, comparing, and evaluating, taken together, that make up what I refer to as application. The perspectives on aspects of reality which open up through acts of application often affect the reader emotionally and cognitively, whether deeper or more superficially.
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