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n Acta Germanica : German Studies in Africa - Hermeneutik als Methode zum Verständnis des 'Fremden' in der Literatur
Hermeneutics as a method for the understanding of the 'foreign' in literature
H.G. Gadamer, in his extensive study Wahrheit und Methode and in many of his later studies, tries to find an answer to the question how understanding takes place by usually referring to written texts which have a history (a literary text cannot be treated differently from other texts as it embodies a 'truth' of its own kind) and he criticises from a new perspective many of the ideas put forward and accepted in this area (from Schleiermacher to Dilthey). According to Gadamer, the key factor leading to a 'true' understanding, is that the reader and the text belong to the same tradition (culture). The reader sharing the same tradition with the text, somehow has knowledge about what he reads. Such a way of understanding a text naturally is far from explaining, if something belonging to an 'alien' culture can be understood by the reader or not. Based on Goethe's concept of 'Weltliteratur', this study tries to answer the questions whether it is possible for the reader to have a 'true' understanding of literary texts belonging to various cultures, and what is involved in the process of a text being read and interpreted by a reader from a different culture.
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