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Ritualtheorien pp 339-363 | Cite as

Ritual und Literaturwissenschaft

  • Richard F. Hardin

Zusammenfassung

Wer moderne Literaturkritik liest, hat sich in bezug auf einige der normalsten Worte an ein gewisses Gefühl der Unsicherheit gewöhnt. Worte wie „Symbol“, „Rhythmus“ oder „Ironie“ verlangen die Geduld und Bereitschaft, eine unvoraussehbare Anzahl theoretischer Annahmen zu akzeptieren. Nicht alle Leser sind derart heikel, dass sie für jede noch so kleine Abweichung von einer „akzeptierten“ Definition nach einem neuen Wort verlangen. Und dies ist wahrscheinlich gesund. „Der Missbrauch eines alten Wortes, falls man ihn erklärt, verursacht weniger Probleme, als wenn man ein neues Wort erfindet“, schrieb C.S. Lewis (1954, 550). Diese Sucht nach neuen Ausdrücken hat den Geisteswissenschaften nicht immer gedient, und es gibt keinen guten Grund anzunehmen, dass sie die Literaturwissenschaft voranbringen würde. Dennoch schuldet jeder Autor seinen Lesern eine Erklärung, wenn Worte missbraucht werden. Was bedeutet es, wenn z.B. ein literarisches Werk als Ritual bezeichnet wird? Einige der bekanntesten Kritiker der letzten Jahrzehnte behaupteten, Miltons Lycidas stelle „ein Trauerritual“ dar (Wittereich 1979, 98), Goethes Faust sei „ein ungewöhnlich klares Beispiel für ein Kunstwerk im Sinne eines sozialisierenden ‘rite de passage’ (Hartman 1975, 110), Eliots Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock ende „mit einem Ritualdrama, in dem das Universum in Richtung auf eine überwältigende Frage bewegt werde“ (Feder 1971, 221), und dass ein unbedeutendes jakobinisches Theaterstück schliesslich das Prinzip, dass „Poesie ein Ritual der Auferstehung und der Wiedergeburt ist“ veranschauliche (Cope 1973, 174).

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  • Richard F. Hardin

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