Gadamer as Practical Critic (GSA 2019 Panel)
The theoretical principles of Gadamer’s hermeneutics, both pro and con, are part of modern criticism’s intellectual framework. But what does his practical criticism reveal? To what extent is it in tune or not in tune with his theory? How valuable has it been towards embodying that theory, bearing out its value or falling short of its promise? Why did Gadamer treat exilic figures like Domin and Celan in the practical writings, yet write very little about the contemporary experience of exile, Shoah, trauma, etc. in the philosophical writings? Do his writings offer critical access to current problems of exile and transnational concepts of critique in practical criticism? In addition, Volume Eight of his Gesammelte Werke sketches out a somewhat awkward canon, one that includes Hölderlin, Goethe, Rilke, George, Benn, Ernst Meister, Celan, and Domin: what does this list suggest? What qualifies entry in this group, and what kind of criteria or borders Gadamer understood for the category of Überlieferung? How does Gadamer's practical criticism contrast with the aims of other 20th-century German philosophers who applied their philosophy through literary readings, in particular Adorno or Heidegger?