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By Theo D'haen, Rainer Grübel, Helmut Lethen

This paintings is a severe review of the recommendations of conference and innovation as utilized within the examine of adjusting literary values, hierarchies and canons. ways are analyzed: (1) the linking of conference and the subject's expertise of conference, and (2) platforms concept. The benefits of either ways are mentioned and an try is made to mix them and to treat platforms of literary verbal exchange basically as structures of conventions. particular circumstances of fixing conventions and innovation are illustrated with examples from the sector of versification (Rimbaud), reception reports (Puskin, Goethe, George Eliot), the dichotomy of forgetting/remembering (Nietzsche, Proust), avant-garde, the yank dream, and renowned genres assimilated in Postmodernism

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A negative corollary is that all observation is theory-laden, which makes test­ ing a complicated — but not impossible — affair. Being interested not only in literary conventions but also in their distribution, rise and decline, the theory (or theories) that is (are) to steer our examination of conventions must account for both the continuity and the discontinuity of conventions. The level of observations is provided by (1) the texts considered to be liter­ ary by particular semiotic communities, (2) a.

Est ... fondée ... sur une analyse, au niveau global de la publication, du contrat implicite ou explicite proposé par l'auteur au lecteur, contrat qui détermine le mode de lecture du texte et engendre les effets qui, attribués au texte, nous semblent le définir comme autobiographie" (Lejeune 1975: 44). 7. Szegedy-Maszák (1983: 45) points to the conventional nature of the epistolary novel which became apparent when it was replaced by the novel containing interior monologue. See also Fokkema 1986.

Of course it will not always be possible to propose clear-cut definitions. But even if we have to resort to more elaborate descriptions, we can discern the same general strategies: - the stipulative type, which will be useful in the case of the study of a closed group of texts (but not if we want to talk about "the" aphorism); this is not more than a preliminary agreement to avoid linguistic misun­ derstanding; - the real or realist description; these have an essentialist nature and are just as arbitrary as the stipulative ones, but they pretend a correspon­ dence with an essential aspect of reality, "truth," which makes them rather unfit for "scientific"2 debates, useful as they may be in philosophy; - the descriptive or lexical type, which tries to fix the meaning of a term in actual use; if that meaning changes according to time and place, this type of description tends to be nothing more (and nothing less complicated) than a history of the term; - the operational type, which implies a test to decide about the applicability of the term; if one were to stretch the meaning of "test" far enough, read­ ers' attitudes might be considered to be operational tests, but that would require the feasibility of unambiguous decisions about these attitudes...

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