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Aspects of Reference in Literary Theory

Poetics, Rhetoric and Literary History


Alina Silvana Felea

The book presents the various viewpoints that poetics, literary history and Western rhetoric have adopted throughout Western history. The aim of poetics is to render the specificity of the literary discourse by either highlighting the extra literary generative forces or by focusing on the intrinsic study of literary works. Rhetoric chiefly places emphasis on the verbal effects of discourses whereas literary history predominantly examines the temporal succession of the literary systems or of the literary institution. The author focuses on the three sections: poetics, rhetoric, and literary history and provides an introductory study on the subject of reference.

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1. Poetics


1. Poetics

1.1. The acceptations of the term and the object of the discipline

Literature – an instance of language, a constant of poetic reflection

Nowadays there is not only one definition of poetics because its long history contributed to the enrichment of its manifold identity, although a more thorough analysis of its defining fundamental themes will reveal their relatively reduced number. It is however true that these themes have undergone numerous and important transformations throughout time, every epoch has witnessed a reevaluation of the concepts, of the suppositions and postulates of poetics and its methodological principles that have been developed and integrated into new syntheses to such an extent that they are no longer identical to their initial formulae. Nevertheless, the constant of poetic reflection is the reference to literary art in its verbal creation capacity. The major aim of this discipline has always been that of observing and studying literature in its specificity, this type of art being the most frequently defined as an artistic verbal activity which can thus be included in the category of instances of language. Hence it has always been connected to the sciences of language as it attempts to delimit and analyse the defining criteria of literary language in order to reveal the functioning of the art of words from that perspective. Associating the observation with the domain of the verbal and with the categories that correspond to it has always been one of the defining markers of...

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