Interpreting Interpretation: Textual Hermeneutics as an Ascetic Discipline

Paperback | March 2, 2006

byWilliam E. Rogers

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In Interpreting Interpretation, William E. Rogers searches for a model for literary education. This model should avoid both of two undesirable alternatives. First, it should not destroy any notion of discipline in the traditional sense, terminating in the stance of Rorty's "liberal ironist." Second, it should not regard literary education as an attempt to cause students to ingest a pre-determined mix of facts and cultural values, terminating in the stance of E. D. Hirsch's "cultural literate." From the semiotics of C. S. Peirce, Rogers develops the notion of interpretive system. The interpretive system called textual hermeneutics is used to interpret interpretation. From that perspective, the world looks like a text. Applying the principle rigorously allows an articulation of the problematic relations among interpretation, philosophy, and language itself.

Interpreting Interpretation clarifies the conception of textual hermeneutics as an ascetic discipline by showing the consequences of this conception for interpreting canonical texts and for humanities education in general. Discussions of poetry by Robert Frost and by John Ashbery illustrate how this conception applies to an analysis of literary texts. Ultimately, the book offers a Peircean alternative to the educational theories implied in the pragmatism of John Dewey and of Richard Rorty. Rogers provides a new vocabulary for talking about what people are doing when they read, write, speak, and hear interpretive statements about texts. The new vocabulary acknowledges the great difficulty of "teaching texts" in the face of postmodern anxieties about pluralism, relativism, or nihilism. What emerges is not curriculum but method—an argument that the humanities teach not texts but interpretive systems.

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In Interpreting Interpretation, William E. Rogers searches for a model for literary education. This model should avoid both of two undesirable alternatives. First, it should not destroy any notion of discipline in the traditional sense, terminating in the stance of Rorty's "liberal ironist." Second, it should not regard literary educat...

William E. Rogers is Bennette E. Geer Professor of English at Furman University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.58 inPublished:March 2, 2006Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271027339

ISBN - 13:9780271027333

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Contents

List of Abbreviations

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Part I. Reconstructing Girls’ Education in the Postrevolutionary Period (1800–1830)

1. Defining Bourgeois Femininity: Voices and Debates

2. Schools, Schooling, and the Educational Experience

Part II. Women, Schools, and the Politics of Culture (1830–1880)

3. Debating Women’s Place in the Consolidating Bourgeois Order (1830–1848)

4. Independent Women? Teachers and the Teaching Profession at Midcentury

5. Vocations and Professions: The Case of the Teaching Nun

6. Boarding Schools: Location, Ethos, and Female Identities

Part III. National and Political Visions of Girls’ Education

7. Political Battles for Women’s Minds in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century

8. Beyond the Hexagon: French Schools on Foreign Soils

Conclusion

Appendix 1: The Women Pedagogues

Appendix 2: The Professions of Fathers and Husbands of Parisian Headmistresses (1810–1880)

Notes

Select Bibliography

Index