A Concise, Cogent & Comprehensive View Into Literary Interpretation
January 5, 2017
Validity In Interpretation by E.D. Hirsch, Jr. exegetes and distills the plethora of issues revolving around literary interpretation.
Hirsch deftly narrows down the truth behind the much confounding premise that truth lies within subjectivity. The author logically shows how objectivity is not only attainable, but should be striven for even when individuals are told otherwise.
Admittedly, as a caveat, this book was quite arduous to read. Its precision in analysis is highly reminiscent of some logic books read by myself. The framework undertaken by the author provides him with an ironclad scaffolding for which to base his contention against the vacillating subjectivity of ‘truth’ within psychologism, historicism and more.
Hirsch undertakes the hermeneutic task of showing the reader why the meaning of a certain text and the significance of a text are different. On one hand, the significance of a text changes within whichever context it resides in, while on the other hand the meaning of a text is static and unchanging.
As the author elucidates:
“…when we construe another’s meaning we are not free agents. So long as the meaning of his utterance is our object, we are completely subservient to his will, because the meaning of his utterance is the meaning he wills to convey. Once we have construed his meaning, however, we are quite independent of his will. We do not have to accept any longer the values and assumptions he entertained. We can relate his meaning to anything we want and value it as we please.”.
Ultimately, Hirsch confects a sagacious treatise on literary interpretation that is superb and incisive. Those interested in literary interpretation should definitely consider implementing this into their individual repertoire.
Source & Reference:
 E.D. Hirsch, Validity In Interpretation, pg. 142