Every literary and cultural theory must be based on certain explicit or implicit assumptions about the human condition, about what the human make-up is, what humans want, what they need, how society responds to these wants and needs, and what role literature and culture play in this context. Willingly or unwillingly, but always inevitably, such assumptions form the basis of every theoretical approach, although critics often do not want to acknowledge their premises or may not even be aware of them. As a rule, when we interpret a literary text or a cultural practice, we do not first ask ourselves what our underlying philosophical or anthropological premises are. We simply apply a perspective or a method that we know and prefer. We can do this because these approaches come with the authority of an established critical convention, and that is also the reason why we may not feel the need for an analysis and justification of the tacit assumptions on which they are based.


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pp. 109-134
Launched on MUSE
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