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From Modern Theory to a Poetics of Experience

Polish Studies in Literary History and Theory


Grzegorz Grochowski and Ryszard Nycz

The volume From Modern Theory to a Poetics of Experience contains a wide selection of essays, which were published during past decades in academic journal Teksty Drugie and were widely appreciated as significant contributions to the ongoing debate on principles and methods of literary studies. Articles gathered in this collection represent the main schools, tendencies and perspectives applied in contemporary criticism, including the most recent developments and the older traditions, which previously influenced our field. Their chronological succession seems to indicate certain direction of this development, which has moved literary studies from text-oriented, purely scientific procedures to more contextualized, interpretative approaches, labeled here as «poetics of experience».
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What Remains of Structuralism?


Janusz Sławiński

There are always two ways of answering the question that directs our discussion. First, we can say that it focuses on the achievements of a given area of research, what it left behind in the discipline, what remains as its accomplishments that are in a sense unarguable, and not requiring – at least as yet – better conclusions in some area. And so, one can legitimately maintain that structuralism has until today remained “the last word” in fields of research such as verse studies and stylistics. After all, no post- or anti-structuralist research area has built its own theory of verse to rival the existing one. It is therefore possible to answer this version of the question with relative ease, but with the cost that the answers will be somewhat banal.

But the question as I understand it above all concerns something else. What we are asking is whether any topicality is left by the main theoretical premises and issues that once gave a certain character to a given trend, marking what distinguished it from other trends. In other words, we are asking whether (and to what degree) the active theory- and problem-creating mechanism which in days of yore worked at full steam and is today already seen as a historical phenomenon still exists. Has it been completely exhausted by now, deprived of the opportunity to produce new knowledge, or is it only active in some area, and now devoid of significance...

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