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Summary and Keywords

Phenomenological literary theory has its roots in Edmund Husserl’s studies of the directional acts of consciousness in the first half of the 20th century and Roman Ingarden’s The Literary Work of Art and The Cognition of the Literary Work of Art, arguing that literary works can come into existence only in the act of reading. Under the influence of Martin Heidegger, phenomenology absorbed hermeneutic insights from Dilthey, Gadamer, and Ricoeur, as well as existentialist features, foremost from Jean-Paul Sartre, with Merleau-Ponty contributing a corporeal accent by reiterating Husserl’s distinction between the biophysical body (Körper) and the animate body (Leib). George Poulet of the Geneva school and the early Yale critics added an author-oriented form of literary criticism, while Ingarden’s work was taken up by the Konstanz school theorists Wolfgang Iser and Hans Robert Jauss, the latter challenging ontological approaches by a historically anchored form of reception aesthetics. In the United States, the idea of phenomenology in literature has been prominently pursued by Maurice Natanson. At the same time, phenomenological literary theory is undergoing a revival in the wake of the neo-phenomenology of Hermann Schmitz, notably in such writings as Rita Felski’s Uses of Literature.

Keywords: phenomenology, directionality of consciousness, intentional objects, constitution, act of reading, concretization, eidetic variation, ontic heteronomy, intersubjectivity, lifeworld

At the heart of phenomenological literary theory is the concept of reading as a set of intentional acts by which the literary work comes into existence as an emerging phenomenon. Although phenomenology has thus sparked a historical phase of reader-oriented theories and criticism, for the phenomenologist the centrality of reading is neither a trivial fact, nor a mere historical fad. Instead, the act of reading is argued to be a necessary condition without which the literary work could not exist. Phenomenology has provided detailed arguments to corroborate this fundamental claim. To sketch even a cursory picture of phenomenological literary theory we must return at least to a selection of Edmund Husserl’s foundational principles. This is a timely undertaking, given a number of new volumes of Edmund Husserl’s Nachlass that are relevant to the relation between phenomenology and literature. Husserl’s manuscripts contain important revisions pertaining to his views on language, intersubjectivity, and eidetic analysis that complement and update the insights of his earlier published works. Five volumes are of particular consequence in this respect. Two supplementary volumes focus on his Logical Investigations, additions to his Phenomenology of Intersubjectivity, and one volume of Husserl’s writings until 1935 on eidetic variation.1 The contribution to phenomenological literary theory made by Roman Ingarden in the 1930s is of equal importance in that it rendered many of Husserl’s tenets germane to the ontological and epistemological description of the constitution of literary works by acts of reading. All subsequent phenomenological theory and literary criticism are at least indirectly indebted to Ingarden’s analyses in The Literary Work of Art and The Cognition of the Literary Work of Art.2 The aim of this article is to outline the phenomenological principles that literary theory and literary criticism have adopted, the extensions of the Husserlian apparatus by post-Husserlian theorists, and developments such as neo-phenomenology.

Phenomenological Principles

Edmund Husserl (1859–1938) undertook a radical review of how philosophy should be conducted by identifying the non-inferential starting point of being aware of the world, including ourselves, “the hard problem of consciousness.”3 Husserl’s point of departure was the description of the content of consciousness in which things appear or are given as apodictic or at least adequate evidence. His primary data are our acts of consciousness by which we constitute our world. Everything else we know is the result of inferences on the basis of intentional acts, as for instance the massive but unavoidable inference of the community. Complex objectivities, such as society at large, cannot be the result of elementary, epistemic observations. Rather, society turns out to be an inevitable, ontological extrapolation on the basis of our intentional acts, which force us to conclude that without this inference our acts themselves could not be what they are. Thus, Husserl reverses the traditional procedure of beginning ontologically with what we take for granted empirically. On the basis of phenomenal act description, Husserl develops an elaborate methodology at the center of which is intentionality, the directional character of all consciousness. Every intentional act is said to be directed toward some content, what we think of, hope for, or toward what we remember. In this manner, we constitute objectivities as intentional objects, which are always meaningful states of affairs, whether actual or fictional.

In the experience of literature, our directionality of consciousness is complicated by having to project purely intentional objects from language. What so appears to consciousness, Husserl calls Anschauung (intuition), following Kant, or perceptual grasp, including its imaginative variants. To capture such intuitions more precisely, Husserl, since the publication of Ideas (1913), introduced the complementary concepts of noema, a formal or nonformal meaning unit, and noesis, the process by which the noema comes about. Literary noemata can only be nonformal for two reasons. First, language in literary works is natural language (with rare embedded, formal examples) and its poetic extensions, the definitional boundaries of which are always fuzzy. Second, since natural language is schematic and so contains spots of indeterminacy, it relies on acts of imaginative meaning fulfillment, which involves quasi-perceptual acts of imagining.4 Every noema is the consequence of a cognizing noesis, a relation that is highly relevant to literary analysis. As Husserl once remarked, “The incomparably more important and fruitful analyses belong to the noetical side.”5

Husserl’s phenomenological procedure involves three major methodological constraints, which he calls reductions. The first is bracketing (epoché), the isolation of the description of our intentional acts from customary presuppositions, especially of a theoretical kind.6 This operation should be taken charitably, since it is not possible to achieve any radical cleansing of our acts to formal purification. Maurice Merleau-Ponty pointed out “the impossibility of a complete reduction,” as did Jean-Paul Sartre.7 Viewed charitably, acts of bracketing can be reconciled with Hans-Georg Gadamer’s observation that “all understanding inevitably involves some prejudice,” which “gives the hermeneutical problem its real thrust.”8 Husserl’s description of reduced individual acts provides no more than the data for our inquiry. To avoid remaining stuck at this level of psychologism, Husserl introduces a second constraint, the necessary transformation of psychological materials into essences, or general principles our individual acts are examples of. Yet Husserl’s essences are not essentialist. By performing the eidetic reduction, we imaginatively vary particulars, stripping them of inessential features, until we arrive at their conceptual core, their Wesen. Again, a charitable reading of Husserl’s Wesensschau (essential viewing and seeing) could be argued as a form of concept clarification as a grasp of intentional entities in principle. This generalization, says Husserl, is already an inevitable part of ordinary experience since the objects of the phenomenal world are always partially given. They are always underdetermined, experienced selectively via aspects, adumbrations, moments, or profiles. In this respect, reading literature is a special case in point, where language functions as no more than a skeleton for our construction of fictional worlds. Indeed, Husserl privileges “art and particularly poetry” in the performance of the Wesensschau.9 Since in habitual acts of re-cognition objects are apprehended as types rather than in detail, whenever we wish to experience objectivities more comprehensively, we do so by virtue of appresentations or co-presentations, which save us from forever re-investigating familiar things. Appresentations extend our immediate perception beyond what is given, allowing for graded realizations from highly schematic co-presentations to detailed picturing (Anschaulichkeit). Husserl harnessed this procedure for more complicated cases, such as our empathetic apprehension of the other that, to a large extent, must always remain appresentational.10

A third constraint is Husserl’s transcendental reduction, a movement from actual and imagined specifics to their conditions of possibility. This is part of Husserl’s turn to a scientifically conceived transcendental idealism, by which he rejected any form of naïve idealism as he did any version of naïve realism. Husserl saw himself as more realist than ordinary empiricists by attending to intentional acts that we cannot but perform in experiencing the actual as well as imaginable worlds, instead of taking empirical assumptions for granted. One of the major results of Husserl’s transcendental procedure is the constitution of intersubjectivity as an ontological derivation from the epistemological description of subjective acts. If phenomenology is characterized as subjectivist individualism, we are dealing with a serious misreading of its epistemological starting point as ontological.11 For Husserl, individual acts of consciousness, viewed ontologically, are always already embedded in historical intersubjectivity. The transcendental stipulation of intersubjectivity as necessary, ontological ground of subjectivity is the result of a move from the description of intentional acts to their eidetic generalization and from there to their conditions of possibility: that is, the conditions without which subjective intentionality would not be possible. Thus, sociality based on reciprocity turns out to be a necessary ontological inference. The total complex of Husserl’s forms of intersubjective, social acts make up Husserl’s lifeworld (Lebenswelt).12 Given the ontological priority of the social, it is not surprising that Husserl never looked at language in isolation but from the very start regarded it pragmatically as a form of communication.13

Revisions and Tripartite Ontology

From the perspective of literary theory, Husserl’s Nachlass and especially the supplementary volumes to the Logical Investigations are significant because they invite a review of his early theory of language.14 We find a strong emphasis on utterance over the sentence and the function of tone as a modifier of all propositional content.15 At the same time, we notice a gradual preference for the term Anschauung instead of intuition and an increasing stress on Anschaulichkeit (vivid imaginability) and affection as vivacity (Lebendigkeit).16 There is a growing insistence on the cognitive equality of imagined and perceptual forms of meaning intention and meaning fulfillment. Husserl’s notion of Leerintention (empty intention) as a transitional stage of consciousness (Durchgangsbewusstsein) is clarified by his argument that “pure Anschauung” and pure “empty intentions” are no more than “limit cases” of cognition.17 Without the presence of at least some form of nonverbal imaginability, it would be difficult to see how precisely we comprehend language without courting infinite verbal regress.18 Another extension of Husserl’s earlier position is his elaboration of the prelinguistic role of categorial relations and the core forms of substantivity and adjectivity, distinctions that could add significantly to explorations of how language guides readers of literature in their projections of presentational processes and presented worlds.19 We also notice in the Nachlass volumes a widening gap between formal identity and proximate meaning fulfillment in natural language.20 Finally, we find a shift toward an emphasis on sociality within which language does its work. This is fully acknowledged in Husserl’s correction of his earlier view on soliloquy, which is now redefined as a thoroughly social phenomenon.21 This amounts to a stronger accent on the ontological embeddedness of our acts, including all linguistic ones, in sociality beyond a mere being-next-to-one-another (Nebeneinandersein) to being-with-one-another (Miteinandersein), being-within-one-another (Ineinandersein), and being-for-one-another (Füreinandersein).22 We also find that our linguistic “communicative consciousness” is now more purposefully inserted into a “shared spiritual world” (gemeingeistliche Welt) and the social intellectual life, Husserl’s “soziale Geistigkeit.”23 A most significant revision of Husserl’s published work in the Nachlass can be found in his substantial additions to his earlier distinction between the physical body and the animated, lived body: This was a topic that would loom large in Merleau-Ponty’s writings and has more recently been resumed in neo-phenomenology.24

Especially fruitful for literary theory is the contribution that phenomenology has made to ontology. Whereas in traditional ontology, what exists is made up of ideality (e.g., sets) and materiality (e.g., particles), Husserl added intentionality as an indispensable third category. Without it, the argument goes, we will not know how to analyze such compound entities and processes as culture, education, jurisdiction, political systems, and works of art. Their special status consists in being ontically heteronomous: that is, they simultaneously partake of three ontological domains. It should be self-evident that works of literature and other artistic formations are neither simply idealities, nor are they exhausted by their materiality. They also require for their very existence the intentional acts of producers and consumers. The implications of Husserl’s tripartite ontology for art and literature were most thoroughly pursued by the Polish phenomenologist Roman Ingarden.

The Birth of Phenomenological Literary Theory

Roman Ingarden (1893–1970) can rightly be called the founder of phenomenological literary theory, taking its point of departure from two foundational volumes, The Literary Work of Art (in German, 1931; English translation, 1973) and The Cognition of the Literary Work of Art (in Polish, 1937; enlarged German version, 1968; English translation, 1973).25 The first book addresses the question of what sort of objects literary works of art are and what kind of mode of being characterizes their existence as literature. The second volume asks what sort of cognitive processes are needed in order to bring literary worlds into existence. The former is arguably one of the most detailed demonstrations of Husserl’s ontology, addressing as it does all three domains: materiality, ideality, and intentionality. Likewise, the second volume can be viewed as a demonstration of Husserl’s description of the necessary, intentional acts involved in the constitution of an ontically compound objectivity, such as a literary work. Ingarden’s ontological findings can be summed up as follows.

The literary work must not be confused with the material book or its print. Rather, the literary work emerges only in the act of reading. In their performance, all literary works display a multilayered structure and a forward reading dimension. At any point in the reading process, the reader cannot but proceed from (1) the stratum of word sounds to (2) that of the meanings of linguistic expressions, through (3) the stratum of sentences a series of schematized aspects appear to the reader that (4) guide our constitution of objectivities that make up the presented world. As an overall unity, the literary work has a micro-structural and macrostructural quasi-temporal extension—from sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph, beginning to end—by which the work’s presentational process unfolds. Ingarden speaks of the dual dimensionality of the literary work, the succession of parts, and simultaneity of all strata at each point of the reading process. Furthermore, in contrast to scientific and practical texts, the sentences of literary works are quasi-judgments; they may look like ordinary statements, but they have a different function, laying as they do the foundation for the intentional projection of a presented world and its presentational process by readers—including the author as self-reflective, first reader.

Ingarden draws a sharp distinction between the literary work as a virtual entity and its many realizations by its readers. The latter he calls concretizations, a specification of Husserl’s appresentation or co-presentation of indicated or intimated aspects.26 The reader’s concretization of the literary work of art as a potential is a consequence of its schematic character. In addition to the text’s strata, especially the strata of aspects and objectivities, the work contains numerous lacunae or spots of indeterminacy (Unbestimmtheitsstellen) that are more precisely, even if never fully, determined in the act of reading. And even the infinite variety of concretizations that a literary work will undergo in its reception throughout history is still schematic. Ingarden here takes over Husserl’s distinction between semantic essence of linguistic expressions or their Bedeutung and their meaning fulfillment (Husserl’s Sinn) by intentional acts that make language anschaulich, that is vividly imaginable. Ingarden has thus significantly elaborated Husserl’s distinction as a necessary component of his definition of literature. Whenever a work of literature is read, part of its virtual potential is realized. Ingarden sums up his ontological characterization of literature by insisting that the literary work of art “is a purely intentional formation which has the source of its being in the creative acts of consciousness of its author and its physical foundation in the text set down in writing or through other physical means of possible reproduction.”27 And because the work is secured by language, our dominant form of communication, Ingarden calls it an “intersubjective intentional object,” which is always related to a community of readers.

In the epistemically conceived The Cognition of the Literary Work of Art, Ingarden addresses the question of how we constitute the literary work as an intersubjective intentional object in the performance of reading. Two basic assertions inform his arguments: one, that the reader’s intentional acts in response to the work’s language consists of interconnected, ontically heterogeneous processes and, two, that the constitution of the work in the act of reading is at the same time a temporal process. In line with the different strata of the literary work, our intentional acts differ fundamentally from one another in spite of their necessary interaction. Transforming word sounds into linguistic meanings differs acutely from acts of projecting quasi-objectivities and their adumbrational aspects. Each of these act complexes constitute different intentional objects that together make up, for example, the fictional world of a novel. The act of literary reading, then, is not exhausted by the comprehension of syntactic and semantic sound sequences but of necessity also involves imaginative acts of projecting a quasi-world. The cognition of the literary work of art is, among many other things, a transformation of verbal information into nonverbal, intentional objects. This is where phenomenological literary theory differs sharply from theories restricting reading to merely linguistic operations at the expense of nonverbal, imaginative concretizations.

A controversial aspect of Ingarden’s literary theory is his idea of the “polyphony of aesthetic value qualities,” especially as displayed in the classical literary canon. That individual readers attach values to features of literary works is not in doubt. What is in doubt is whether such values belong to the virtuality of the work or to concretizations and so vary with trends in its reception. Much the same criticism has been applied to Ingarden’s “metaphysical qualities” of literary works of art. In these two respects, Ingarden’s ontology appears to run up against the boundaries of historical inquiry. Questions of artistic and aesthetic value qualities and metaphysics may be more convincingly associated with the historicity of literary reception. One could, for example, replace the question of a work’s metaphysics with the less controversial notion of “work ideology.”28 Two major differences between Husserl and Ingarden that are relevant to literary theory likewise deserve a mention. One is that since 1918, Ingarden has held a realist view of phenomenology in contrast with Husserl’s transcendental idealism. The other major difference is that since 1936, when he was writing the shorter Polish version of The Cognition of the Literary Work of Art, Ingarden changed his position on Husserl’s ideality of linguistic meaning, now speaking of “intentional correlate” and “intentional configuration.”29 Before it makes sense to proceed to Heidegger’s hermeneutic phenomenology, we will have to deal briefly with the relationship between Husserlian phenomenology and the work of Wilhelm Dilthey.

Phenomenology and Hermeneutics

The hermeneutics of Wilhelm Dilthey (1833–1911) concurs with Husserl in its focus on human consciousness but does so for strikingly different reasons.30 For Husserl, the description of individual acts of consciousness is the basis for their eidetic generalization and the transcendental analysis of the conditions of possibility without which consciousness could not function. By contrast, Dilthey is interested in the historical specificity of individual consciousness as focus of his cultural analyses and the definition of the cultural sciences. Both Husserl and Dilthey reject the claims of the natural sciences serving as a meta-theory covering the totality of human existence. But unlike Husserl’s distillation of general intentionality, Dilthey’s hermeneutics of human individuality aims to penetrate “into alien expressions of life through a transposition from the fullness of one’s own experiences.”31 Mutual understanding would reveal “the commonality that exists among individuals,” including “the reciprocal obligation in duties and rights that is accompanied by the consciousness of what ought to be.”32 Dilthey’s normativity encompasses “history, economics, legal and political science, the study of religion, of literature and poetry, of art and music, of philosophical worldviews and systems, and finally psychology.”33 On this basis, Dilthey develops his distinction between the natural sciences and the cultural sciences (Geisteswissenschaften), the former of which explains, and the latter interprets. Whereas the natural sciences abstract, the cultural sciences reconstruct “the fullness of life through a sort of transposition.”34 What counts as worthy of transposing is judged by Dilthey’s criterion of significance, which lifts his inquiry beyond the merely subjective.35 Such generalizations aim to produce a “conception of the mental world.”36 Accordingly, literary texts are viewed as “experiential expressions” (Erlebnisausdrücke) reflecting an “understanding of the social-historical world.”37 With reference to the hermeneutic circle, Dilthey remarks, “The entirety of a work is to be understood from the individual words and their connections, and yet the full understanding of the individual already presupposes that of the whole.”38 With such arguments, Dilthey’s hermeneutics has exerted a noteworthy influence on the thought of Heidegger, Gadamer, Ricoeur and others, as well as on phenomenological literary theory and literary critical practice.

In Being and Time, Heidegger (1889–1976) discards two notions of the phenomenon, its “vulgar” form of truth-taking (Wahr-nehmung) by the senses and Husserl’s “formal” phenomenon as bracketed appearance, replacing both by his own “eminent,” elevated phenomenon as concealment.39 Its main characteristic is that it does “not show itself in the first instance and for the most part,” an observation that “signifies primarily a method.”40 In contrast to Husserl’s phenomenology of appearances, Heidegger’s is an anthropology of appearance as disguise, demanding interpretation. Hence the “phenomenology of Dasein is hermeneutics.”41 And since interpretation is at the heart of literature, and literature is founded on words, what is fundamental here is Heidegger’s view of natural language as “the house of Being.”42 Unlike linguistics and language philosophy, Heidegger’s Fundamentalontologie holds that only if we “enter into the speaking of language,” will language “call us” and so “grant us its nature.” Its nature permits the “thinging of the thing,” giving it “Being.”43 This is why for Heidegger language is the most elementary medium of disclosure, the essence of which “is saying as showing.”44 But while naming as showing is vital, the highest form of disclosure is poetic, philosophical discourse. From Heidegger’s vista, “Everyday language is a forgotten and therefore used-up poem, from which there hardly resounds a call any longer.”45 Pertinent to literary theory, too, is what he has to say in Being and Time on the intimate relation between understanding (Verstehen) and interpretation (Auslegung), his resumption of Ast’s, Schleiermacher’s, and Dilthey’s concept of the hermeneutic circle, and the notion of a human being as being-towards-death, an existential elaboration of the medieval memento mori.46 Arguably Heidegger’s most abiding contribution to a phenomenological theory of literature is his readings of the poetry of Hölderlin, Rilke, George, Benn, and Trakl.47

Heidegger’s phenomenological hermeneutics of understanding is further developed by Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900–2002), foremost in Truth and Method (1985).48 Gadamer’s hermeneutics of dialogue has been particularly fertile in the interpretation of temporally and culturally distanced texts.49 Beyond his focus on interpretation, Gadamer’s popularity has also to do with his promotion of practical self-knowledge (phronesis) and the theme of an intellectually and spiritually balanced life. He grants prominence to conversation as the situation in which meanings can always be renegotiated. What makes us human, Gadamer insists, is language. Human consciousness is above all linguistically articulated. Here, Heidegger’s Fundamentalontologie, where language has a founding function, has clearly left its mark. Beyond Husserl’s interest in the mechanism of intentionality, consciousness in Gadamer is always effective-historical consciousness (wirkungssgeschichtliches Bewusstsein), such that historicity is a crucial aspect of all interpretive acts, a point resumed in the literary theory of Hans Robert Jauss. Part of our historicity, writes Gadamer, is that we always stand within a tradition, a position that grants a certain legitimation to prejudice as inevitable prejudgment and the facticity that authority plays in our judgments. Authority, he observes, is not always wrong. He rejects the argument by Habermas that his alleged collusion of knowledge and authority purges critique. Rather, critical thought is viewed as always possible, though only within the constraints of conventions. More important than critique for Gadamer is our openness to the truth claims of texts and to the hermeneutic experience itself. As to truth, Gadamer, like Heidegger, defends a broad conception. Instead of granting centrality to formal truth and objective correctness, Gadamer takes truth to be always complex, placing cognition within a generous horizon of involvements. The broadened notion of truth in Gadamer goes hand in glove with his critique of our optimistic reliance on method, as for instance in Dilthey’s all too confident reconstruction of a past consciousness by the tools of the cultural sciences. In Gadamer, hermeneutic insights are not the result of any method; method is the result of hermeneutics. His expanded truth notion is argued with the help of Husserl’s inner and outer horizons, leading to his much-cited “fusion of horizons” (Horizontverschmelzung). Such overlapping configurations of understanding empower us to negotiate differing meaning events from the position of our own historical situatedness. Part of the process of reconciling alien spheres of meaning is what Gadamer terms “play”: This is not in Derrida’s sense of something that undermines presence but in the sense of an active participation in the practice of interpretive acts.

Major French Phenomenologists

Other important impulses have entered phenomenological literary theory and its critical applications from French phenomenology, such as the transformation of Heidegger’s “thrownness” (Geworfenheit) by Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980) into the absurdity of human existence. Sartre’s intellectual trajectory evolved from a Husserlian preoccupation with the imagination to an increasingly existentialist experience of disgust in the face of the accidentality of human existence, explored in fictional form in Nausea.50 Where Husserl used bracketing as a tool to reduce preconceptions, Sartre was struck by the absurd contingencies of his findings. In Being and Nothingness, human being is conceived as consciousness pour-soi (for-itself) in contrast with objective being as a nauseatingen-soi (in-itself).51 This led Sartre first to stipulate radical individual freedom and the necessity of authentic, personal choice to stave off bad faith, an individualistic problematic he gradually resolved by a growing commitment to Marxist thought enabling him to shift from the pour-soi toward an obligation to work for the freedom of others (soi-autrui) and society at large. Sartre’s position is well reflected in his own literary production, as well as in his literary criticism and literary theory, the latter of which is decidedly didactic. Accordingly, in What Is Literature? (1948), Sartre applies the principles of his Marxist humanism to the goal of social, intellectual liberation from alienating, ideological blindness. In terms of both volume and impact, Sartre is best known, however, for his existentially inspired books on Baudelaire and Jean Genet, as well as his essays on Dos Passos, Steinbeck, and Faulkner in Les Temps Modernes, a journal founded by Sartre together with Maurice Merleau-Ponty.

In contrast to Heidegger’s Fundamentalontologie and Sartre’s literary politics, Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908–1961) takes a corporeal turn with his uptake of Husserl’s distinction between the biological body (Körper), and the lived body as epistemic base and center of orientation (Leib).52 Accordingly, my living body is my corporeal ego-being (leibliche Ichlichkeit).53 Merleau-Ponty advocates an ontology of language grounded in corporeal subjectivity, with crucial consequences for literature. Merleau-Ponty’s signified is always motivated, challenging radical arbitrariness as a well as formal sign systems as inappropriate preconditions of natural language and literariness. Merleau-Ponty follows in the footsteps of Husserl’s meaning chain characterized by a “surpassing of the signifying by the signified” via vivid imaginability.54 Emerging from the intentionality of the lived body, language absorbs the spoken and unspoken world as always already a world of meaning.55 Language, moreover, empowers us to create an infinity of possible worlds, all of them intentional variants of actuality, such as the worlds of literature. Like Husserl, Merleau-Ponty trusts in perception and perceptual faith.56 Yet, as literature demonstrates, the lived body is not merely a locus of perception, it is also a multiplier of imaginable alternatives via Husserlian appresentations. They permit me to be aware of things “behind my back” as a quasi-perceptual, “visual presence.”57 A major shift beyond Husserl is Merleau-Ponty’s insistence on the body as exclusive site of phenomenological description. “It is the body and it alone” that “brings us to the things themselves.”58 Here, Merleau-Ponty reverses Husserl’s relation of semantic meaning (Bedeutung) and meaning fulfilment (Sinn) by granting primacy to corporeal meaning as distinct from linguistic meaning as “immanent.”59 And yet there remains an intimate connection between corporeality and language, secured by Merleau-Ponty’s claim that word meanings are “formed by a kind of deduction from gestural meaning, which is immanent in speech.”60 Thus has language absorbed perceptual being.

Paul Ricoeur (1913–2005), a Kantian phenomenologist, pursues a “hermeneutics of suspicion.” His work is phenomenological in its analyses of intentionality; it is hermeneutic in bringing to light what is concealed; and suspicious because he distrusts language. His view of cognition appears Kantian in that reality is available to us only as interpretive, discursive disclosure. Ricoeur’s hermeneutics draws on its secular tradition traceable to the dialectic of bottom-up, reflective, and top-down teleological reasoning of Kant’s Critique of Judgment and the hermeneutic circle theorized by Ast, Schleiermacher, Dilthey, Heidegger, and Gadamer. Yet for Ricoeur, it is not philosophy that best reveals what makes us human but narrative, above all in its fictional forms, an emphasis that informs Ricoeur’s writings, such as The Rule of Metaphor (1978) and the three-volume Time and Narrative (1984–1988).61 In the former, Ricoeur revisits the concept of metaphor from Aristotle to Heidegger and Derrida, analyzing it as a rhetorical figure, semantic predication, and as a component of discourse. At each level, metaphor is shown to function as a device of concealment. In Time and Narrative, Ricoeur resumes Günther Müller’s (see below) phenomenological analyses of narrating time and narrated time by distinguishing three kinds of mimesis: (1) guiding the reader’s construction of a world; (2) as causal nexus network; and (3) as affecting the actual world of the reader. In Oneself As Another (1992), Ricoeur sums up his ethical convictions, amounting to a blueprint for responsibility to oneself and others.62 And it is founded on the recognition of human vulnerability and social reciprocity, an extension of Husserl’s concept of community as a being-for-one-another (Füreinandersein).

A limit case of phenomenological inquiry is the work of Jacques Derrida (1930–2004) who has had a formidable sway on literary theory, as well as on writing in general. That he decided not to complete his first doctoral thesis entitled “The Ideality of the Literary Object,” supervised by Jean Hyppolite and Maurice de Gandillac, is a loss for literary theory. Where Derrida proved especially successful was in retooling Heidegger’s notion of Destruktion into deconstruction and in his radicalization of two Kantian theses on the empirical concept. The limits of my concept, Kant had declared, “are never assured” and “the completeness of the analysis” of my concept “is always in doubt.”63 Derrida sharpens Kant’s observations by way of infrastructures or “aconceptual” concepts,64 including differance, metaphoricity, iterability, chora, supplementarity, parergon, pharmakon, margin, scission, hymen, trace, and others, all demonstrating the impossibility of meaning identity in natural language. Not so convincing is Derrida’s rejection of presence and the “now” of time consciousness, which Husserl himself had already pronounced a mere abstraction, “which can be nothing for itself.”65 Another shortcoming could be said to be Derrida’s verbocentrism of linguistic meaning. Despite his sympathy for Peircean hypoiconicity, Derrida’s conception of language remains hostage to infinite verbal regress, lacking a nonverbal resolution.66 Husserl’s appresentation and Ingarden’s concretization avoid vicious, linguistic regress by recourse to nonverbal Anschaulichkeit (picturability; imaginability) in pragmatic meaning fulfillment.

Applications of Phenomenological Principles

As was to be expected, the international endorsement of phenomenology in literary theory has been uneven, producing a number of different strands. To highlight a few major successors to the ideas of Husserl and Ingarden, we can distinguish the uptake of phenomenological principles in German scholarship, the Geneva school, the Konstanz school, the Yale Critics, by theorists discovering phenomenology in literature, and in Neo-phenomenology.

German Theorizing

Not surprisingly, Husserl’s phenomenology and Ingarden’s literary theory had a far greater impact on German scholars than on their colleagues in other countries, especially in the Anglosphere. Hardly any work on poetics written in German after 1931 was able to escape the phenomenological horizon. A standard example is Wolfgang Kayser’s Das Sprachliche Kunstwerk: Eine Einführung in die Literaturwissenschaft (The Verbal Work of Art: An Introduction to Literary Studies; 1948). A mainstay of the immanent approach to literature, Kayser’s theory is firmly anchored in phenomenological methodology, such as its rejection of psychologism. Phenomenology offered Kayser “liberation” from a “psychologistic conception.” So, it makes sense that he regarded Ingarden’s The Literary Work of Art, and Günther Müller’s “On the Mode of Being of Literature” as “the two most important works in recent times.”67 For Kayser, the contemplation of the mode of being of the literary work of art was “an important part of all theoretical questions” of literature. Other works influenced by phenomenology are Emil Staiger’s Grundbegriffe der Poetik (Basic Concepts of Poetics; 1946) and Die Kunst der Interpretation (The Art of Interpretation; 1955). Staiger’s commitment to Heidegger’s version of the hermeneutic circle, in which we must “try to enter it appropriately,” reflects Heidegger’s redefinition: “This circle of understanding is not a circle in which an arbitrary kind of cognition is in motion; rather it is the expression of the existential Vor-struktur (fore-structure) of Dasein itself.”68 Staiger’s distillation of generic forms of literature in Basic Concepts of Poetics along Heideggerian lines signaled a growing split within phenomenological literary theory between Husserlian and hermeneutic alternatives.69

Günter Müller’s morphological poetics and his focus on the distinction between narrating time and narrated time have had a lasting impact on literary theory, as acknowledged in the structuralist resumption of the topic by Genette and others.70 Müller combined his approach with the writings on time by the Russian Formalists.71 His phenomenological leanings are most visible in his early paper “Über die Seinsweise von Dichtung” (On the mode of being of literature, 1939).72 Likewise, Müller’s colleague, the narratologist Eberhard Lämmert, author of Bauformen des Erzählens (Building Blocks of Narration; 1955) shares with Ingarden an emphasis on intentionality as marking the difference between actuality and verbally conveyed fiction. Avoiding a mimetic approach, Lämmert argues that since language cannot imitate but only indicate reality, literary works always only present a highly selective and merely intimated world. With reference to Ingarden, Lämmert explains that “the reality version of the verbal work of art is intentional because it points to a transliterary-real being.”73 One of the most innovative narratologists in the phenomenological tradition is Franz Stanzel. In his project of “narrative situations,” Stanzel significantly raised the bar for point-of-view studies. From Die typischen Erzählsituationen im Roman: Represented by Tom Jones, Moby-Dick, The Ambassadors, Ulysses and Others (1955) to his more recent Theory of the Novel (1984) and “The ‘Complimentary Story’: Outline of a Reader Oriented Theory of the Novel” (2004), Stanzel employs an eidetic description of the kind of intentionality required for the cognition of three typical forms of narratorial strategies: authorial, first-person, and figural narrative situations.74 A fourth strategy, exemplified by way of Joyce’s Ulysses, is shown to consist in a mixing of narratorial options, such that “the narrative is no longer personal,” with the personality of the artist entering “into the narration itself.”75 Stanzel’s writings make a major contribution to literary theory, deserving of much more attention than they have received in the United States and the United Kingdom.76 From his early writings, Stanzel commits himself firmly to the findings of Ingarden’s phenomenological principles as they appear in The Literary Work of Art (1931), drawing liberally on them “in order to clarify the specific systematicity” (Eigengesetzlichkeit) of literary presentations.77 A similar methodological commitment characterizes Käte Hamburger’s Die Logik der Dichtung (1957; The Logic of Literature, 1993). She adopts Ingarden’s “ontological-phenomenological theory of cognition” in order “to distinguish the mode of being of literature from that of the prose of predications about reality.” In spite of some disagreements with Ingarden on the function of quasi-judgments, Hamburger consistently applies phenomenological principles in her work.78

The Geneva School

A very different, metaphorically phenomenological style is the hallmark of the writings of literary critics customarily collected under the name of the Geneva school. However, as Peter Cryle has argued, there is no overarching set of theoretical principles that would unify its members. A better umbrella term under which to group George Poulet, Jean Starobinsky, Jean-Pierre Richard, Marcel Raymond, Albert Béguin, and Jean Rousset, would be simply a “group of friends” united by intersubjective sympathies rather than a shared theoretical tool kit.79 What they do share is a nonbiographical form of literary criticism aiming to reconstruct the creative consciousness of authors as it can be derived from the totality of their writings. This broad aim has enough of a hermeneutic, Dilthey-oriented tinge to be called phenomenological. Among the group, George Poulet is not only the most well known but also the most distinct theoretically. In his “Phenomenology of Reading” (1969), as well as in La Conscience critique, Poulet makes a number of phenomenological moves without recourse to technical terminology.80 Over thirty years after the publication of Ingarden’s The Literary Work of Art (1931), Poulet’s “Phenomenology of Reading” was still able to function in the Anglosphere as an introduction to phenomenological literary theory. Neither Husserl nor Ingarden are mentioned, which suggests that Poulet did not wish to frighten off his American readers, steeped in New Critical practices, an impression that is strengthened when we read J. Hillis Miller’s paper, “The Literary Criticism of Poulet” where the disavowal of phenomenological sources is equally striking.81 Yet, the classification of Poulet’s paper as phenomenological is justifiable on other grounds. As Peter Cryle writes, “An interesting fact about Georges Poulet and those associated with him is that their work was often seen as having theoretical import without being ‘theory’ in any narrow sense.”82 Paul de Man concurs: “The criticism of Georges Poulet conveys the impression of possessing the complexity and scope of a genuine work of literature.”83 Indeed, Poulet provides a metaphorical, quasi-ontological description of the intentional mode of being of literary works. Unlike objects such as vases and statues, Poulet suggests, the “book is not shut in by its contours” and “is no longer a material reality”: It is an intentional object in which “a series of words, of images, of ideas . . . begin to exist.” And what is this existence? “My innermost self.” In Blanchot’s similar style of theorizing, “The book needs the reader in order to become a statue.”84

The Konstanz School

Among the Konstanz school luminaries, it was above all the merit of Hans Robert Jauss to have introduced the neglected historical dimension into mainstream phenomenological inquiry with his paper “Literary History as a Challenge to Literary Theory.”85 While literary historicity had been set aside (though not disavowed) by Ingarden, Jauss, under the influence of Gadamer’s hermeneutics, Russian Formalism, and Czech structuralism, filled the vacuum with his program of literary hermeneutics and reception aesthetic.86 This reorientation should, however, not be construed as a repudiation of phenomenological principles. Rather, Jauss focuses on the kinds of concretizations we need to entertain to grasp works of literature in their historical context from our contemporary “horizon of expectations.”87 Jauss was aiming above all at bridging the gap between Marxist and formalist schools of literary theory by insisting that the historicity of literature is unthinkable without consideration of its audience. His challenge rests on seven theses: (1) We must replace historical objectivism with an aesthetics of reception and impact; (2) to eschew psychologism, it is necessary to describe historical responses within the framework of reader expectations; (3) the reconstruction of a historical horizon of expectations permits identification of literary impact on a historically situated audience, such as shock, rejection, approval, and gradual understanding; (4) such a reconstruction promotes the discovery of the question to which the text was an original answer; (5) the aesthetics of reception is incomplete without the ordering of individual works and their reception in a series documenting their significance in literary evolution; (6) the diachronic and synchronic analyses of reception history lead to our recognition of changes in aesthetic attitudes toward new and old works, leading to a new form of literary history; (7) lastly, a rich literary history requires that its literary character be related to general history, with special reference to the dynamic relationship between literature and society.

The member of the Konstanz group best known outside Germany is Wolfgang Iser, whose The Implied Reader (1974) and The Act of Reading (1978) have won an international readership.88 The success of Iser’s description of the reading act can be explained at least partly by the fact that it draws more than is obvious to most readers on the cohesion of Husserl’s theorization of apperception, intentional objects, theme and horizon, empathy, expectations, protension and retention, noema, ideation, aspects, and intersubjectivity, and a great deal more on Ingarden’s seminal thoughts in The Literary Work of Art (1931) and The Cognition of the Literary Work of Art (1968). Iser accepts Ingarden’s argument that the literary work can come into existence as literature only in its performance by a reader; he also builds on Ingarden’s schematic structure of the literary work and his distinctions between the material foundation of the text, its language, semantic fulfillment, the aesthetic object to be construed by the reader by way of concretizations, and the virtuality of the literary work of art itself. Iser modifies Ingarden’s elaboration of the indeterminacy of the literary work by the notions of gaps, blanks, and negations and replaces his emphasis on the harmony of the “polyphony of aesthetic value qualities” and preference for the canon by the thesis of “consistency-building” as “indispensable basis of all acts of comprehension.” Yet Iser’s own literary examples are largely drawn from the English canon: Beckett, Bunyan, Chaucer, Faulkner, Fielding, James, Joyce, et al. As to the theorization of language, Husserl’s distinction between semantic meaning (Bedeutung) and meaning fulfillment (Sinn) is not explored, and Eco rather than Peirce is invoked on the iconic sign. In short, it is not entirely clear what kind of explanation of linguistic meaning Iser prefers. He adopts Ingarden’s point of the constitution of objectivities as purely intentional correlates directed by the sentences of the literary work, combining his phenomenology with the occasional structural terminology, such as signifier and signified and the syntagmatic and paradigmatic axes of language.89 Original in Iser’s Act of Reading is his “wandering viewpoint,” the “communicatory structure” of the literary text, and “negativity,” its unformulated shadow. A phenomenological insight that gets lost in Iser’s reworking of Ingarden is the definition of the literary work as an ontically heteronomous, intentional object. Other prominent figures of the Konstanz school include Jurij Striedter, Wolfgang Preisendanz, Max Imdahl, and Rolf Fieguth.90

The Yale Critics

Notwithstanding references in the literature to phenomenological tendencies among the Yale school critics, their use of phenomenology is marginal at most. The early writings of J. Hillis Miller at Johns Hopkins University display a largely metaphoric use of phenomenology under the influence of George Poulet, focusing as it does on the critical reconstruction of authorial consciousness, as in Charles Dickens: The World of His Novels (1959) to The Disappearance of God (1963). From Thomas Hardy: Distance and Desire (1970) onward, the accent of Miller’s critical style began to shift toward rhetorical heterogeneity, from representation to figurality. As he observed later in Ariadne’s Tread (1976), the criticism of consciousness was no more than “a momentarily successful strategy for containing rhetorical disruptions of narrative logic.” Given Miller’s New Critical training and his anti-theoretical temperament, it was unlikely that he would ever embrace a systemic, phenomenological style of investigation. With the arrival of Derrida at Yale and their move to Irvine, Miller welcomed the anti-totalizing freedom of deconstruction as an almost natural fulfillment of his critical career. It allowed him to fully explore his rhetorical brilliance without the threat of theoretical systematization.91

A similarly antidoctrinal sentiment informs Geoffrey Hartman’s humanistic criticism and exegetic critical practice. Hartman’s writings amount to a sustained defense of the humanities by way of a nontheoretical hermeneutics with a rabbinical touch. The closest to phenomenological literary theory his writings ever get is his early engagement with the consciousness of the Romantic poets, especially in Wordsworth’s Poetry 1787–1814 (1964). But even here, consciousness is not dealt with in terms of a systemic description of intentional acts but rather as a search for the evolution of the poet’s mind as a consciousness of nature and self, a program reminiscent of Dilthey’s hermeneutics. Later, in Beyond Formalism: Literary Essays 1958–1970 (1970), Hartman formulates his critical method as transcending linguistic exegesis in search of a higher experience by taking into consideration the poet’s historical context, while eschewing any reductive thrust of theory. The Fate of Reading (1975) disparages the restrictive tenets of New Criticism, while also cautioning against any ideological appropriation, psychoanalytic distortion, and formalist devaluation of literature, as well as against semiotic and linguistic shifts away from literary reading. Instead, as in Criticism in the Wilderness (1980), Hartman advocates creative, historically informed, interpretive engagement and a reconciliation of philosophically oriented criticism with text-centered Anglo-American sensitivities. As a result, Hartman envisages an autonomous form of literary criticism as a “relatively free, all-purpose genre” compatible with deconstruction as a new “theory of language.” In this vein, literary criticism could become a “hermeneutics of indeterminacy,” without however being committed to any theoretical doctrine.92

From the outset, Paul de Man’s critical writings focus on the status of language in literature. Yet, in spite of his acquaintance with the literary phenomenology of Blanchot and Poulet, he did not approach language the way Husserl, Ingarden, or Heidegger did: as a medium that would guide us in the projection of either intentional objectivities or a philosophical, poetic form of being. Instead, he took Heidegger to task for his insensitivity to the rhetorical features of Hölderin’s poetry. De Man’s “insight” that there is no “meaning” in literature is certainly not the result of eidetic distillation but more likely a consequence of a personal response to dark matters of autobiography. Professionally, the substitution of the pursuit of the figurality of literature for the “nothingness of human matters” was to prove a perfect preparation for his encounter with Jacques Derrida at Yale and the critical freedom legitimated by deconstruction. De Man not only exposed the “blindness” of New Criticism and formalism but also that of extrinsic approaches to literature via psychoanalysis, history, ideology, as well as structuralism, all misguided attempts to impose nonexisting meanings on literature, insisting that “resistance to theory” was theory par excellence.93 What remains is a theory of literary rhetoric and stylistic elegance.

Phenomenology in Literature

Phenomenology has also spawned a large number of works that reverse the theoretical perspective by scrutinizing in how far literary works can themselves be said to be phenomenological. Two examples will have to stand in here for the many. In The Ecstatic Quotidian: Phenomenological Sightings in Modern Art and Literature (2007), Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei probes Husserlian phenomenology from within literature, especially with respect to the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke.94 Her tertium comparationis between Husserl and the poet is the rendering of the everyday from two seemingly opposing perspectives: eidetic distillation and poetic condensation, that is, Dichtung (poetry). Yet, according to the author, and echoing Natanson (see next paragraph), it is the quotidian taken-for-grantedness that makes both kinds of phenomenology possible in the first place. And since the phenomenological stance and the artistic approach are two different ways of transcending the ordinary, she neatly combines the two methods under the heading of the “ecstatic quotidian.” Where Husserl proceeds by way of a direct, eidetic approach, Rilke is said to follow the path of a poetic, indirect phenomenology. What unites them is that both, in their distinctly different ways, aim at “grasping essences.”95 And this is precisely what Husserl foreshadowed.96

It is fitting to conclude this section with a brief tribute to Maurice Natanson whose phenomenological writings, which spanned a lifetime, were instrumental in introducing Husserl’s philosophy and that of some of his successors to the English-speaking public.97 In his final, posthumous book, The Erotic Bird: Phenomenology in Literature (1998) Natanson writes that in contrast to Ingarden’s “phenomenology of literature” he intended to look at “phenomenology in literature” by exploring “the manner in which a literary work, in some instances, may reveal a phenomenological structure which has been formed or shaped by the literary work in which it has been confined.”98 Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot are granted special attention, while at the same time the author addresses key concepts of phenomenology, such as evidence, intentionality, reductions, pre-predicative categorial structures, and the Lebenswelt. In so doing, Natanson confirms Husserl’s belief that “we can extraordinarily profit” from “the gifts of art and particularly poetry” by drawing on “the suggestive power of the media of artistic presentation.” In this sense, literature functions as a “descriptive eidetic experience.”99

Neo-Phenomenological Literary Theory

In the wake of the writings of Hermann Schmitz on neo-phenomenology (Neue Phänomenologie), we can observe a renaissance of phenomenological writings, with an emphasis on corporeality and affect, once again taking its cue from Husserl’s seminal distinction between the physical body (Körper) and animated or lived body (Leib).100 Literary theory and criticism have already begun to reflect this turn toward a corporeal intentionality and enactivism in a number of publications.101 There is Patricia Waugh’s “Fiction as Therapy: Towards a Neo-Phenomenological Theory of the Novel” in which she discusses the therapeutic benefits of immersing ourselves in imaginary worlds, Tonino Griffero’s “pathic aesthetics” (2016), and “Feeling and Form: New Theories of Affect and Aesthetics” by Anna Ioanes, the latter investigating the relationship between affect and aesthetics across different genres of art, and exploring the act of reading as a sensory encounter.102 Arguably the most persuasive example of neo-phenomenological theorizing is Rita Felski’s Uses of Literature (2008).103 Instead of continuing the “paranoid style of critical engagement” of Ricoeur’s “hermeneutics of suspicion” and other doctrinal standards, Felski argues for a recognition of acts of ordinary reading as a “positive aesthetics,” which would allow for “thick descriptions of experiential states” typical of actual reading practices. Four modes of reading experience are distilled in Felski’s modestly phenomenological investigation: recognition, enchantment, knowledge, and shock. In the mode of recognition, rather than repeating the fetish of alterity, the reader can achieve a form of self-interpretation in a dialogue with the “social imaginary” of represented Otherness. At the level of enchantment, we may be “bewitched” or even “possessed” and “emotionally overwhelmed,” without however having to forgo our awareness of engaging in imaginary world. As to reading literature in terms of knowledge, Felski revives the idea of the validity of commonsense portrayals of the lifeworld as a kind of social phenomenology. Lastly, the textual mode of engagement characterized as shock points to what can be “unnerving” in the act of reading, against the intellectual “taming” of reading responses in much of literary theory. Avoiding the visceral excesses of some recent neo-phenomenological writings, Felski’s literary theory is highly innovative but at the same time a sound return to Husserl’s motto “to the things themselves” (Zu den Sachen selbst).

Discussion of the Literature

Given the complexity of Husserl’s published work and continuing publications of his Nachlass in German, it is not surprising that his influence on phenomenological literary theory has not received the global, comprehensive scholarly attention it deserves. Nor was it to be expected that the writings on aesthetics in the wake of Husserl’s phenomenology by Moritz Geiger would draw much attention outside Germany.104 This, however, does not explain why Roman Ingarden’s foundational contribution to phenomenological literary theory should likewise have been marginalized internationally as it has. For example, in the 550-page The Theory of Criticism: From Plato to the Present, edited by Raman Seldon, phenomenology is granted a few meager pages, while Ingarden’s contribution receives a few lines of dubious analytical value.105 Much the same can be said about a range of other writings in the American critical tradition.106 In the recent study by Cassandra Falke, The Phenomenology of Love and Reading, Ingarden is transformed into a “Polish critic” whose main function is to have inspired Iser and Jauss.107 A justification of this neglect appears to be implied in the confident claim by Seldon and Widdowson that “reader-oriented theory has no single or predominant philosophical starting point.”108 This is a view that is hardly compatible with the reality of Husserl’s foundational role in modern phenomenology or Ingarden’s radical innovations. And even Yale critics J. Hillis Miller and Geoffrey Hartman, in spite of their early sympathies for French forms of phenomenology and the Geneva school critics, fail to notice the pivotal role Ingarden played in the shift toward the intentional acts of the reader in the constitution of the literary work as literature.109 Ingarden’s significance for literary theory does not fare much better in Terry Eagleton’s popular Literary Theory: An Introduction, where the author lumps together in one chapter “Phenomenology, Hermeneutics, and Reception Theory.”110 Ingarden’s arguments on the constitution of the literary work in the reader’s concretizations are hardly acknowledged. For Eagleton, everything in literature changes. For the phenomenologist, there is a crucial difference between changing concretizations and the principle of the abiding necessity of constituting acts. However, phenomenology has not remained entirely silent in response to Marxist criticisms, as Jauss has demonstrated in his paper “The Idealist Embarrassment: Observations on Marxist Aesthetics.”111

A more generous acknowledgment of Ingarden’s insights can be found in the work of a leading proponent of Czech structuralism, Felix Vodicka, a successor of Jan Mukarovsky.

In the substantial introduction to Vodicka’s Die Struktur der literarischen Entwicklung (The Structure of Literary Evolution), Jurij Striedter explains how Vodicka succeeded in rendering Ingarden’s notion of concretization compatible with Mukarovsky’s conception of literary scholarship.112 Vodicka himself is liberal in his acknowledging of the Polish phenomenologist, especially with reference to Ingarden’s introduction of the concept of concretization and initiation of reception theory.113 Another structuralist theorist, Janusz Slawinski, though more critical of Ingarden in Literature als System und Prozeß (Literature as System and Process), nevertheless concedes the phenomenologist’s important innovations.114 Again, it is a member of the Konstanz group, Rolf Fieguth, who contributed a useful introduction to the volume in “Semantics and the Literary Tradition,” an overarching conceptualization of structuralist literary theory.115 Fieguth, notwithstanding his sympathy for Russian Formalism, as well as Czech and Polish forms of structuralism, made it his task to challenge certain misreadings of Ingarden’s literary theory.116 A seminal difference between phenomenological literary theory and approaches restricted to linguistic analysis, such as in structuralism and poststructuralism, is that phenomenology treats literary language as the basis on which the reader constructs imaginable, nonverbal scenarios. How precisely this is possible is argued by Ingarden in detail in terms of a process of intentional, imaginative projection within the guidelines of the text, a version of Husserl’s concept of meaning fulfillment. Though individual concretizations will differ from one another in terms of historical and personal specificity, they all share the fundamental transformation of verbal into nonverbal intentionality.

To the extent that phenomenological aesthetics has dealt with literature, the writings of Nicolai Hartmann and Mikel Dufrenne follow in Ingarden’s footsteps. In his Aesthetics, Hartmann defers to Ingarden on the stratified nature of the literary work of art, though his argument in favor of print as a necessary founding stratum was rejected by the Polish phenomenologist.117 Hartmann also diverges from Ingarden’s unified conception of stratification. However, on the broader principle of art and literature being best pursued via a phenomenologically oriented ontology, Hartmann firmly concurs with Ingarden.118 Likewise, there is generous recognition of the Polish philosopher’s input into aesthetics and literary theory in Mikel Dufrenne’s Phenomenology of Aesthetic Experience.119 Other influences of a phenomenological character on literary reading have been Ernst Cassirer’s Philosophy of Symbolic Forms and Karl Jaspers’s writings, especially his theory of limit situations.120 More recent works impacting literary theory have been those of Jean-Luc Marion, Jean-Luc Nancy, Michel Henry, Jean-Louis Chretien, and Giorgio Agamben, all of whom deserve detailed, separate treatment.

Further Reading

Agamben, Giorgio. The Uses of Bodies, trans. Adam Kotsko. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2016.Find this resource:

    Falk, Eugene H. The Poetics of Roman Ingarden. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1981.Find this resource:

      Gosetti-Ferencei, Jennifer Ann. “The World and Image of Poetic Language: Heidegger and Blanchot.” Continental Philosophy Review 45 (2012): 189–212.Find this resource:

        Heidegger, Martin. Poetry, Language, Thought, trans. Albert Hofstadter. New York, NY: Perennial Classics, 2001.Find this resource:

          Henry, Michel. Material Phenomenology, trans. Scott Davidson. New York, NY: Fordham University Press, 2008.Find this resource:

            Holub, Robert C. Reception Theory: A Critical Introduction. London, UK, and New York, NY: Methuen, 1984.Find this resource:

              Ingarden, Roman. The Literary Work of Art, trans. George Grabowicz. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1973.Find this resource:

                Ingarden, Roman. The Cognition of the Literary Work of Art, trans. Ruth Ann Crowley and Kenneth R. Olson. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1973.Find this resource:

                  Iser, Wolfgang. How to Do Theory. Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 2006.Find this resource:

                    Lingis, Alphonso. Phenomenological Explanations. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1986.Find this resource:

                      Marion, Jean-Luc. Being Given: Toward a Phenomenology of Givenness. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2002.Find this resource:

                        Mitscherling, Jeff. Roman Ingarden’s Ontology and Aesthetics. Ottawa, ON: University of Ottawa Press, 1997.Find this resource:

                          Nancy, Jean-Luc. The Birth of Presence. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1993.Find this resource:

                            Natanson, Maurice. The Erotic Bird: Phenomenology in Literature. Foreword by Judith Butler. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998.Find this resource:

                              Ray, William. Literary Meaning: From Phenomenology to Deconstruction. Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell, 1984.Find this resource:

                                Ruthrof, Horst. The Reader’s Construction of Narrative. London, UK: Routledge, 2017.Find this resource:

                                  Schmitz, Hermann. System der Philosophie. Bonn, Germany: Bouvier, 2005.Find this resource:

                                    Schmitz, Hermann. Was ist Neue Phänomenologie? Rostock, Germany: Ingo Koch, 2003.Find this resource:


                                      (1.) Edmund Husserl, Logische Untersuchungen. Ergänzungsband. Erster Teil. Entwürfe zur Umarbeitung der VI. Untersuchung der “Logischen Untersuchungen,” ed. U. Melle (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer, 2002); Edmund Husserl, Logische Untersuchungen. Ergänzungsband. Zweiter Teil. Texte für die Neufassung VI. Untersuchung. Zur Phänomenologie des Ausdrucks und der Erkenntnis (1893–1921), ed. U. Melle (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2005). Edmund Husserl, Zur Phänomenologie der Intersubjektivität. Texte aus dem Nachlass: Erster Teil: 1905–1920, ed. I. Kern (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1973a); Edmund Husserl, Zur Phänomenologie der Intersubjektivität. Texte aus dem Nachlass: Zweiter Teil: 1921–1928, ed. I. Kern (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1973b); Edmund Husserl, Zur Phänomenologie der Intersubjektivität. Texte aus dem Nachlass: Dritter Teil: 1929–1935, ed. I. Kern (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1973c); and Edmund Husserl, Zur Lehre vom Wesen und zur Methode der eidetischen Variation: Texte aus dem Nachlass (1891–1935), ed. D. Fonfara (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2012).

                                      (2.) Roman Ingarden, Das literarische Kunstwerk (Tübingen, Germany: Max Niemeyer, 1931); Roman Ingarden, The Literary Work of Art: An Investigation on the Borderlines of Ontology, Logic, and Theory of Literature, trans. George Grabowicz (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1973). Roman Ingarden, O ponawaniu dziela literackiego (Lvov, Ukraine: Ossolineum, 1937); Roman Ingarden, Vom Erkennen des literarischen Kunstwerks (Tübingen, Germany: Max Niemeyer, 1968); and Roman Ingarden, The Cognition of the Literary Work of Art, trans. Ruth Ann Crowley and Kenneth R. Olson (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1973).

                                      (3.) A century later, Husserl’s starting point is re-theorized from an analytical perspective by David Chalmers, The Character of Consciousness (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2010) and David Chalmers, The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1996).

                                      (4.) Dagfinn Føllesdal, “Husserl’s Notion of Noema,” The Journal of Philosophy 66 (1969): 680–687; and Dagfinn Føllesdal, “Noema and Meaning in Husserl,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 50 (1990): 263–271.

                                      (5.) Edmund Husserl, Ideas, trans. W. R. Boyce Gibson (London, UK: George Allen and Unwin, 1969), 251. For a comprehensive exploration of the noetic side of the act of reading, see Roman Ingarden, The Cognition of the Literary Work of Art, trans. George G. Grabowicz (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press); also see Horst Ruthrof, “Literature and Husserl: A Critique of Noematic Meaning,” in Pandora and Occam: On the Limits of Language and Literature (Bloomington: Indiana University Press), 65–77.

                                      (6.) Husserl, Ideas, 101–111.

                                      (7.) Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, trans. C. Smith (New York, NY: Humanities Press, 1962), xiv; also see Jean-Paul Sartre’s argument in favor of the phenomenological reduction as part of the spontaneity of consciousness in Transcendence of the Ego, trans. F. Williams and R. Kirkpatrick (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1957).

                                      (8.) Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method (New York, NY: Crossroad, 1985), 238–253.

                                      (9.) Husserl, Ideas, 201.

                                      (10.) See Husserl on the constitution of the Other (Fremderfahrung) in Cartesian Meditations, trans. Dorion Cairns (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1967), 121–174; cf. also Husserl, Intersubjektivität, Part I, 3, 10–13, 268–269, 342, 478; Husserl, Intersubjektivität, Part II, 3–5, 141–143, 357–368, 523, Husserl, Intersubjektivität, Part III, 365–377.

                                      See also its resumption in the work of Emmanuel Levinas, Alterity and Transcendence, trans. Michael B. Smith (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1999); and Humanism of the Other, trans. Nidra Poller (Urbana and Chicago: Illinois University Press, 2003).

                                      (11.) Eagleton, Literary Theory: An Introduction (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1996), 50.

                                      (12.) See Husserl’s three Nachlass volumes on intersubjectivity, Hua XIII, XIV, XV.

                                      (13.) Edmund Husserl, Logical Investigations, trans. J. N. Findlay (New York, NY: Humanity Books, 2000), 276–277. See Barry Smith, “Husserl, Language, and the Ontology of the Act, in Speculative Grammar, Universal Grammar, and Philosophical Analysis of Language, ed. D. Buzzetti and M. Ferriani (Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins, 1987), 205–227.

                                      (14.) Husserl, Hua XX/1 and Hua XX/2.

                                      (15.) Husserl, Logische Untersuchungen, Nachlass, Part II, 102.

                                      (16.) Husserl, Logische Untersuchungen, Nachlass, Part I, 4n3; Logische Untersuchungen, Nachlass, Part II, 292.

                                      (17.) Husserl, Logische Untersuchungen, Nachlass, Part I, 129.

                                      (18.) Husserl, Logische Untersuchungen, Nachlass, Part II, 151.

                                      (19.) Husserl, Logische Untersuchungen, Nachlass, Part II, 410, 417, 456, 401.

                                      (20.) Husserl, Logische Untersuchungen, Nachlass, Part I, 38, 40.

                                      (21.) Husserl, Logische Untersuchungen, Nachlass, Part II, 49.

                                      (22.) Husserl, Intersubjektivität, Part III, 471, 366.

                                      (23.) Husserl, Logische Untersuchungen, Nachlass, Part II, 13, 75, 23.

                                      (24.) Husserl, Zur Phänomenologie der Intersubjektivität. Texte aus dem Nachlass: Erster Teil: 1905–1920, 2133; 5560; 66–76. See also Husserl, Zur Phänomenologie der Intersubjektivität: Zweiter Teil: 1921–1928, 5573, 225–243.

                                      (25.) Ingarden, The Literary Work of Art; Ingarden, The Cognition of the Literary Work of Art (English translations both 1973; for originals, see note 4 above). See Barry Smith, “Roman Ingarden: Ontological Foundations for Literary Theory,” in Language, Literature and Meaning, vol. 1, ed. J. Odmark (Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins, 1978), 373–390; Jeff Mitscherling, Roman Ingarden’s Ontology and Aesthetics (Ottawa, ON: University of Ottawa Press, 1997); Guido Küng, “Ingarden on Language and Ontology,” Analecta Husserliana 2 (1972), 204217; and Eugene H. Falk, The Poetics of Roman Ingarden (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1981).

                                      Daniel von Wachter, “Roman Ingarden’s Ontology: Existential Dependence, Substances, Ideas, and Other Things Empiricists Do Not Like,” in Existence, Culture, and Persons: The Ontology of Roman Ingarden, ed. Arkadiusz Chrudzimski (Frankfurt, Germany: Ontos, 2005), 5582; and Arkadiusz Chrudzimski, “Ingarden on Modes of Being,” in Objects and Pseudo-Objects: Ontological Deserts and Jungles from Brentano to Carnap, ed. Denis Seron, Sebastian Richard, and Bruno Leclercq (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015), 199–222.

                                      (26.) See Husserl, Logical Investigations, 277.

                                      (27.) Ingarden, Cognition, 14.

                                      (28.) Horst Ruthrof, The Reader’s Construction of Narrative (London, UK: Routledge, 1981).

                                      (29.) Ingarden, Cognition, 10, 25.

                                      (30.) Wilhelm Dilthey, “Wilhelm Dilthey,” Man and World 1 (1968): 428–446.

                                      (31.) Wilhelm Dilthey, “Der Aufbau,” Gesammelte Schriften, vol. 7 (Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1913–1967), 7, 118.

                                      (32.) Dilthey, “Aufbau,” 7, 141.

                                      (33.) Dilthey, “Aufbau,” 7, 79.

                                      (34.) Dilthey, “Aufbau,” 5, 265.

                                      (35.) Dilthey, “Aufbau,” 7, 237.

                                      (36.) Dilthey, “Aufbau,” 7, 145.

                                      (37.) Dilthey, “Aufbau,” 7, 138; see Kurt Mueller-Vollmer, Toward a Phenomenological Theory of Literature: A Study of Wilhelm Dilthey’s Poetik (The Hague: Mouton, 1963); see also Kurt Mueller-Vollmer, Hermeneutics Reader (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1986).

                                      (38.) Dilthey, “Aufbau,” 5, 330.

                                      (39.) Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson (London, UK: SCM Press, 1962), 55–59.

                                      (40.) Martin Heidegger, “The Phenomenological Method of the Investigation,” in Philosophical and Political Writings, ed. Manfred Stassen (New York, NY: Continuum, 2003), 57.

                                      (41.) Heidegger, Being and Time, 61–62.

                                      (42.) Martin Heidegger, On the Way to Language, trans. Peter D. Hertz (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1971), 135; see also his “Letter on Humanism,” in Martin Heidegger, Basic Writings (London, UK: Routledge, 2004), 217–265.

                                      (44.) Heidegger, On the Way to Language, 127.

                                      (45.) Martin Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought, 205.

                                      (46.) Robert C. Scharff, “Heidegger’s ‘Appropriation’ of Dilthey Before Being and Time,” Journal of the History of Philosophy 35, no. 1 (1997): 105–128.

                                      (47.) Heidegger, On the Way to Language; and Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought.

                                      (48.) Gadamer, Truth and Method.

                                      (49.) Hans-Georg Gadamer, Literature and Philosophy in Dialogue: Essays in German Literary Theory, trans. Robert H. Paslick (New York: State University of New York Press, 1993); Hans-Georg Gadamer, The Relevance of the Beautiful and Other Essays, trans. N. Walker (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1986); Hans-Georg Gadamer, Gadamer on Celan: Who Am I and Who Are You?, trans and ed. Richard Heinemann and Bruce Krajewski (New York: State University of New York Press, 1997); and Hans-Georg Gadamer, Praise of Theory, trans. Chris Dawson (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998).

                                      (50.) Jean-Paul Sartre, La Nausée (Paris, France: Gallimard, 1938); and Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea, trans. Robert Baldick (London, UK: Penguin, 1965).

                                      (51.) Jean-Paul Sartre, L’Être et le Néant: Essai d’ontologie phénoménologique (Paris, France: Gallimard, 1943); and Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness, trans. Hazel E. Barnes (New York, NY: Philosophical Library, 1948).

                                      (52.) Edmund Husserl, Ideas II, Studies in the Phenomenology of Constitution, trans. Richard Rojcewicz and André Schuwer (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer, 2000), 152–168. See also Husserl, Intersubjektivität, Part I, 21–33; 55–60; 66–76; Husserl, Intersubjektivität, Part II, 55–73; 225–243.

                                      (53.) Edmund Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, trans. David Carr (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1970), 108.

                                      (54.) Maurice Merleau-Ponty, “On the Phenomenology of Language,” in Signs, trans. R. C. McCleary (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1964), 90.

                                      (55.) Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, trans. C. Smith (London, UK: Routledge, 1962), 184.

                                      (56.) Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Visible and the Invisible, trans. Alphonso Lingis (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1968), 112, 135.

                                      (57.) Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, 6.

                                      (58.) Merleau-Ponty, The Visible and the Invisible, 135–136.

                                      (59.) Merleau-Ponty, Signs, 88–89.

                                      (60.) Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, 179, 193. However, Merleau-Ponty’s corporeality is diminished by his recuperation of a “nascent logos” underlying everything. See Horst Ruthrof, The Body in Language (London, UK: Bloomsbury, 2015), 10–14.

                                      (61.) Paul Ricoeur, The Rule of Metaphor: Multidisciplinary Studies in the Creation of Meaning in Language, trans. Robert Czerny (London, UK: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); and Paul Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, vols. 1–3, trans. Kathleen Blamey and David Pellauer (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1984–1988).

                                      (62.) Paul Ricoeur, Oneself as Another, trans. Kathleen Blamey (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1992).

                                      (63.) Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, trans. Norman Kemp Smith (New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1965), A728/B756.

                                      (64.) Jacques Derrida, Limited Inc, ed. Gerald Graff (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1988), 118.

                                      (65.) Edmund Husserl, The Phenomenology of Internal Time Consciousness, trans. J. S. Churchill (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1966), 62–63.

                                      (66.) Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology, trans. Gayatri Charavorti Spivak (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press), 45–50; see Charles Sanders Peirce, Writing of Charles S. Peirce: A Chronological Edition, vol. 2, 1867–1871 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984), EP 2.273.

                                      (67.) Wolfgang Kayser, Das sprachliche Kunstwerk: Eine Einführung in die Literaturwissenschaft (Bern, Switzerland: Francke, 1948), 17.

                                      (68.) Emil Staiger, Die Kunst der Interpretation (Zürich, Switzerland: Atlantis, 1955), 11; Emil Staiger, Grundbegriffe der Poetik (Zürich, Switzerland: Atlantis, 1946); and Emil Staiger, Basic Concepts of Poetics, trans. Luanne T. Frank (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1991). See Pandora and Occam: On the Limits of Language and Literature (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992), 48, 49, 56, 61, which argues for a more appropriate metaphor such as “hermeneutic helix.”

                                      (69.) Much to Ingarden’s disappointment; see Ingarden, Cognition, 4, 71, 72, 107, 309, 354.

                                      (70.) Gerard Genette, Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method, trans. Jane E. Lewin. Foreword by Jonathan Culler (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1983; Genette rephrases Müller’s terms narrating time and narrated time as discourse time and narrative time. See also Eberhard Lämmert, Bauformen des Erzählens (Stuttgart, Germany: J. B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1955), 258.

                                      (71.) Günther Müller, Die Gestaltfrage in der Literaturwissenschaft: Die Gestalt, vol. 13 (Halle an der Saale, Germany: Max Niemeyer, 1944); Günther Müller, “Die Bedeutung der Zeit in der Erzählkunst,” in Bonner Antrittsvorlesung 1946 (Bonn, Germany: Universitätsverlag); Günther Müller, “Zeiterlebnis und Zeitgerüst in der Dichtung,” Studium Generale 8, 594–601; Günther Müller, “The Significance of Time in Narrative Art,” in Time: From Concept to Narrative Construct: A Reader, ed. J. Meister and W. Schernus (Berlin, Germany: de Gruyter, 2011), 67–83; and Günther Müller, “Erzählzeit und erzählte Zeit,” in Morphologische Poetik. Gesammelte Aufsätze. (Darmstadt, Germany: WBG, 1968), 269–286.

                                      (72.) Günther Müller, “Über die Seinsweise von Dichtung,” Deutsche Vierteljahresschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte, 17, no. 2 (1939): 157–182.

                                      (73.) Eberhard Lämmert, Bauformen des Erzählens (Stuttgart, Germany: J. B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1955), 22, 257.

                                      (74.) Franz Stanzel, Die typischen Erzählsituationen im Roman: Dargestellt an Tom Jones, Moby-Dick, The Ambassadors, Ulysses, u.a. (Stuttgart, Germany: Wilhelm Baumüller, 1955), trans. J. P. Pusack (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1971). See also A Theory of Narrative, trans. Charlotte Goedsche (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1984) and “The ‘Complimentary Story:’ Outline of a Reader Oriented Theory of the Novel,” in Special Issue: German Narratology I, Style 38, no. 2 (2004): 203–220.

                                      (75.) Franz Stanzel concludes his chapter on Ulysses by quoting Joyce in The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Stanzel, Die typischen Erzählsituationen, 144.

                                      (76.) As argued by Dorrit Cohn in “The Encirclement of Narrative: On Franz Stanzel’s Theorie des Erzählens,” Poetics Today 22, no. 2 (1981): 157–182.

                                      (77.) Stanzel, Die typischen Erzählsituationen, 6.

                                      (78.) Käte Hamburger, Die Logik der Dichtung (Stuttgart, Germany: Ernst Klett, 1957), 24–29; and Käte Hamburger, The Logic of Literature, trans. Marilyn J. Rose (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993).

                                      (79.) Peter Cryle, “Playful Theory: Georges Poulet’s Phenomenological Thematics,” Culture, Theory & Critique, 49, no. 1, (2008): 21–34.

                                      (80.) George Poulet, “Phenomenology of Reading,” New Literary History 1, no. 1 (1969): 53–68; and George Poulet, La Conscience critique (Paris, France: Corti, 1971). See Sarah N. Lawall, Critics of Consciousness: The Existential Structures of Literature (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1968).

                                      (81.) J. Hillis Miller, “The Literary Criticism of Georges Poulet,” MLN 78, no. 5 (1963): 471–488.

                                      (82.) Cryle, “Playful Theory,” 22.

                                      (83.) Paul de Man, Blindness and Insight: Essays in the Rhetoric of Contemporary Criticism (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1971), 80.

                                      (84.) Maurice Blanchot, The Space of Literature (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1982), 193–194.

                                      (85.) Hans Robert Jauss, “Literary Theory as a Challenge to Literary Theory,” New Literary History 1 (1970): 7–37.

                                      (86.) Hans Robert Jauss, Toward an Aesthetic of Reception, trans. Timothy Bahti, with an introduction by Paul de Man (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982); Hans Robert Jauss, Aesthetic Experience and Literary Hermeneutics, trans. Michael Shaw, with an introduction by Wlad Godzich (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982; 1977); and Hans Robert Jauss, Question and Answer: Forms of Dialogic Understanding, trans. Michael Hays (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989).

                                      (87.) Jauss had introduced the term in 1959, with reference to Gadamer’s concept of the “fusion of horizons” with reference to historically and culturally distanced texts. See Jauss, “Literary History as Challenge,” 32; and Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method (New York, NY: Crossroad, 1985), 358.

                                      (88.) Wolfgang Iser, The Implied Reader: Patterns of Communication From Bunyan to Beckett (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975; Wolfgang Iser, The Act of Reading: A Theory of Aesthetic Response (London, UK: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978; 1976); and Wolfgang Iser, Prospecting: From Reader Response to Literary Anthropology (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993).

                                      (89.) On the relation between phenomenology and structuralism, see Jonathan Culler, “Phenomenology and Structuralism,” The Human Context 5 (1973): 35–42.

                                      (90.) Jury Striedter, Literary Structure, Evolution, and Value: Russian Formalism and Czech Structuralism Reconsidered (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989); and Rolf Fieguth, Roman Ingarden: Gegenstand und Aufgaben der Literaturwissenschaft: Aufsätze und Diskussionsbeiträge 1937–1964 (Tübingen, Germany: Max Niemeyer, 1976).

                                      (91.) J. Hillis Miller, Charles Dickens: The World of His Novels (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1959); J. Hillis Miller, The Disappearance of God: Five Nineteenth-Century Writers (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1963); J. Hillis Miller, Thomas Hardy: Distance and Desire (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1970); J. Hillis Miller, Ariadne’s Thread (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1976); and J. Hillis Miller, “The Critic as Host,” Critical Inquiry 3, no. 3 (1977): 439–447.

                                      (92.) Geoffrey Hartman, The Unmediated Vision: An Interpretation of Wordsworth, Hopkins, Rilke, and Valery (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1954); Geoffrey Hartman,Wordsworth’s Poetry, 1787–1814 (New Haven , CT: Yale University Press, 1964); Geoffrey Hartman, Beyond Formalism: Literary Essays, 1958–1970 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1970); Geoffrey Hartman, Fate of Reading: And Other Essays (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1975); Geoffrey Hartman, Criticism in the Wilderness: The Study of Literature Today (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1980); Saving the Text: Literature, Derrida, Philosophy (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981); Geoffrey Hartman, Easy Pieces (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1985); and Geoffrey Hartman, Minor Prophecies: The Literary Essay in the Culture Wars (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991).

                                      (93.) Paul de Man, Blindness and Insight: Essays in the Rhetoric of Contemporary Criticism (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1971); Paul de Man, Allegories of Reading: Figural Language in Rousseau, Nietzsche, Rilke, and Proust (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1979); and Paul de Man, Aesthetic Ideology, ed. Andrzej Warminski (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 1996).

                                      (94.) Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei, The Ecstatic Quotidian: Phenomenological Sightings in Modern Art and Literature (Philadelphia: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2007). See also Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei, Heidegger, Hölderlin, and the Subject of Poetic Language (New York, NY: Fordham University Press, 2004).

                                      (95.) Gosetti-Ferencei, The Ecstatic Quotidian, 15.

                                      (96.) Husserl, Ideas, 201.

                                      (97.) Maurice Natanson, A Critique of Jean-Paul Sartre’s Ontology (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1951); Maurice Natanson, Literature, Philosophy, and the Social Sciences (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1962); Maurice Natanson, The Journeying Self: A Study in Philosophy and Social Role (Oxford, UK: Addison-Wesley, 1970); Maurice Natanson, Edmund Husserl: Philosopher of Infinite Tasks (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1973); Maurice Natanson, Phenomenology and the Social Sciences, vols. 1 and 2 (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1973); and Maurice Natanson, Anonymity: A Study in the Philosophy of Alfred Schutz (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986).

                                      (98.) Maurice Natanson, The Erotic Bird: Phenomenology in Literature, with a foreword by Judith Butler (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996), 8.

                                      (99.) Husserl, Ideas, 201.

                                      (100.) Hermann Schmitz, System der Philosophie (System of Philosophy; 3rd ed., Bonn: Bouvier Verlag, 1998).

                                      (101.) Marco Caracciolo, The Experientiality of Narrative: An Enactivist Approach (De Gruyter, Berlin and Boston, 2014); and Marco Caracciolo, Strange Narrators in Contemporary Fiction: Explorations in Readers’ Engagement with Characters (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2016).

                                      (102.) Patricia Waugh, “Fiction as Therapy: Towards a Neo-Phenomenological Theory of the Novel” (British Academy Lecture, May 15, 2014); Tonino Griffero, Atmospheres: Aesthetics of Emotional Spaces (London, UK: Routledge, 2016); and Anna Ioanes, “Feeling and Form: New Theories of Affect and Aesthetics, The Minnesota Review 89 (2017): 57–70.

                                      (103.) Rita Felski, Uses of Literature (Oxford, UK: Blackwell 2008).

                                      (104.) Moritz Geiger, “Contributions to the Phenomenology of Aesthetic Enjoyment,” Yearbook for Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 1 (1913); Moritz Geiger, Zugänge zur Ästhetik Leipzig, Germany: Der Neue Geist, 1928). Ingarden, for instance, agrees with Geiger’s critique of subjectivist conceptions of aesthetic experience; see Ingarden, Cognition, 384.

                                      (105.) Likewise, in A Reader’s Guide to Contemporary Literary Criticism, ed. Raman Selden and Peter Widdowson (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky) Ingarden’s writings on literature are minimally acknowledged as having inspired Iser’s “blanks.” By contrast, Umberto Eco’s Role of the Reader, Prince’s “narrate,” and Stanley Fish’s “Affective Stylistics” receive prominent treatment.

                                      (106.) See Walter Slatoff, With Respect to the Reader: Dimensions of Literary Response (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1970); Jane P. Thompson, ed., Reader Response Criticism (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980); Susan Suleiman and Inge Crosman, eds., The Reader in the Text: Essays on Audience and Interpretation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1980); Elizabeth Freund, The Return of the Reader: Reader-Response Criticism (London, UK: Methuen, 1987); Louise Rosenblatt, The Reader, the Text, the Poem: The Transactional Theory of the Literary Work (Carbondale: Sothern Illinois University Press, 1994); and Cassandra Falke, The Phenomenology of Love and Reading (New York, NY: Bloomsbury, 2017).

                                      (107.) Falke, The Phenomenology of Love and Reading, 29. Less inaccurate in this respect is William Ray’s Literary Meaning: From Phenomenology to Deconstruction (Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell, 1984), 27–59, which offers a balanced introduction to Ingarden. What is misleading, however, is the placement of his work after that of Poulet, Blanchot, and Dufrenne, which distorts the historical reality of intertextual relations.

                                      (108.) Seldon and Widdowson, A Reader’s Guide, 67.

                                      (109.) In his early response to Georges Poulet, J. Hillis Miller fails to notice the phenomenological steps Poulet rephrases in literary terms. See J. Hillis Miller, “The Literary Criticism of Georges Poulet,” Modern Language Notes, 78, no 5 (December 1963), 471–488. For Geoffrey Hartman, phenomenology never plays a significant role beyond an acknowledgment of the role of consciousness. With reference to T. S. Eliot, Hartman sums up the Yale unease vis-à-vis theory offering “truths imperatively held . . . like a new theology.” The poet’s mind is “too fine to be violated by ideas.” See Geoffrey Hartman, “History-Writing as Answerable Style,” New Literary History 2, no. 1 (1970): 73–83.

                                      (110.) Eagleton, Literary Theory, 47–78.

                                      (111.) Hans Robert Jauss, “The Idealist Embarrassment: Observations on Marxist Aesthetics,” trans. Peter Heath, New Literary History 7, no. 1, Critical Challenges: The Bellagio Symposium (Autumn 1975): 191–208.

                                      (112.) Felix Vodicka, Die Struktur der literarischen Entwicklung, intro. Jurij Striedter (Munich, Germany: Wilhelm Fink, 1976), xiii, xx, lxiii–lxvi, lxxiii.

                                      (113.) Vodicka, Die Struktur, 44, 70, 94.

                                      (114.) Janusz Slawinski, Literatur als System und Prozeß (Munich, Germany: Nymphenburger Verlagshandlung, 1975), 18, 37–38, 63, 71, 80, 91, 96, 107–109, 118, 147.

                                      (115.) Rolf Fieguth, “Semantik und literarische Tradition: Ein strukturalistisches Gesamtkonzept der Literaturwissenschaft,” in Janusz Slawinski, Literature as System and Proceß (Munich, Germany: Nymphenburger Verlagshandlung, 1975), 11–39.

                                      (116.) Rolf Fieguth, “Rezeption contra falsches und richtiges Lesen? Oder Mißverständnis mit Ingarden,” in Sprache im technischen Zeitalter 38 (1971), 142–159. See also Peer F. Bundgaard, “Roman Ingarden’s Theory of Reader Experience: A Critical Assessment,” Semiotica 194 (2013): 171–188.

                                      (117.) Nicolai Hartmann, Aesthetik (Berlin, Germany: Walter de Gruyter, 1953); and Nicolai Hartmann, Aesthetics, trans. Eugene Kelly (Berlin, Germany: Walter de Gruyter, 2014).

                                      (118.) William Henry Werkmeister, Hartmann’s New Ontology (Tallahassee: Florida State University Press, 1990); see also Nicolai Hartmann, “How Is Critical Ontology Possible?” Axiomathes 22, no. 3 (2012), 315–354.

                                      (119.) Mikel Dufrenne, The Phenomenology of Aesthetic Experience, trans. Edward S. Casey (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1973).

                                      (120.) Ernst Cassirer, The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms. Volume One: Language (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1955); Ernst Cassirer, The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms. Volume Two: Mythical Thought (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1955); Ernst Cassirer, The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms. Volume Three: The Phenomenology of Knowledge (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1957); and Karl Jaspers, Philosophy, 3 vols., trans. E. B. Ashton (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1969–1971).