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Reviews221 to recognize its place within "a larger criticism of the modern epoch's view of man, of history, of language, of person" (p. 31). Michael Murray and P.J. McCormick show how this larger criticism bears on literary scholarship. Murray focuses on the event of understanding poetry, emphasizing that this event is also the illumination of the everyday world. "The poetic work lights up its own time and its participating audience, invites us to see how. that time is the same and how different from ours . . ." (p. 72). McCormick focuses on the question of literary truth and shows how the analytical and hermeneutical perspectives differ. "Hermeneutic philosophers are less concerned to analyze the truth conditions of different kinds of sentences whether literary or non-literary than they are intrigued by the possibility that artworks may provide access to truths that are otherwise unavailable" (p. 84). The two papers by David Hoy and Paul Ricoeur (a reprint of the final chapter of his Interpretation Theory) also expand the context of interpretation but are less directed at the audience of classicists. The second section, "Philological Interpretation: Theory and Practice," is a major section which presents the diversity of philological scholarship. These essays are both traditional and innovative, but it is not always clear how they are influenced by philosophical hermeneutics. The third section, "Merged Horizons, Hermeneutes et Philologues en Interaction," brings together individuals from the two areas reflecting on Horace's Socrate Ode (C.1,9) (J. P. Sullivan, Charles Segal, Murray, and Palmer) and Miser Catulle . . . Obdura (S. Kresic, P. J. McCormick, and H.-G. Gadamer). At this point the symposium and the book have focused on the question, what is interpretation? The book becomes frustrating here when it fails fully to communicate the atmosphere of the conference. One wishes for an article by the oft-mentioned "General Quinn." It is clear, however, that the philologists do not expect philosophical hermeneutics to present them with a new method or set of skills. Gadamer recognizes this in the final essay: "All methods of interpretation belong to hermeneutics and either play a role or can be brought into play when it comes to interpreting works of art, such as poems. The task of philosophical hermeneutics is to clarify how this can occur" (p. 328). The book shows clearly what philosophical hermeneutics can contribute to philology, not a new method but a clearer understanding of philology's place in a broadened context of interpretation. University of DaytonPatricia AltenberndJohnson Arts on the Level: The Fall ofthe Elite Object, by Murray Krieger; ix & 71 pp. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1981, $7.50. The three lectures published here (originally given at the University of Tennessee in 1979) offer a spirited defense of the formalist view of art against assaults on the autonomy of the art object by contemporary visual artists on the one hand and post-structuralist literary theorists on the other. The major interest of the book lies in this linking of activities and theories from the visual arts with the theoretical controversies surrounding "deconstruction." Krieger exploits the metaphor ofleveling to suggest that what is happen- 222Philosophy and Literature ing is not an elevation of ordinary objects to the status of art works (or ofcritical discourse to the status of literature) but the reduction of everything to the flatness of a single text. He sees a democratic-egalitarian motive behind the rejection of the elite object but believes this motive is based on a false equation of qualitative discrimination in art with elitism in social and political matters. For Krieger, what is at stake in the debates over the status of the art object is nothing less dian the existence of art as we have known it. The heart of his case against the current tendencies he abhors is less an argument than a restatement of the Kantian codification of the autonomy of the art object, an object which fulfills "the demands of a total internal purposiveness" (p. 10). He grants that the elite art object has become sacralized and the museum a kind of "secular church." He also grants that the elite art object has become a fetishized commodity of the capitalist marketplace. Yet these...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 221-222
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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