Constructivism in the studies of premodern literature

Andrzej Dąbrówka


New theories and research methods as applied in the study of premodern literature and other arts as well, tend to ignore their essential differences from works of the modern era, the latter being formatted according to classicist aesthetic and transmitted mostly in one (printed) version. In case of oral and manuscript delivery there is no established unified text and criticism centered on one text is not possible. That is where the constructivist approach helps students of old arts understand the alterity of their research objects – first of all their disappearance in the streams of delivery where they undergo quite different rhetorical treatment, abbreviations and reductions, interpolations and enlargements, transformations up to genre change, modality switch, etc. The awareness to the above, enriched with procedures providing the works an afterlife, such as enarrations, adaptations and translations, may help also students of modern works exceed the narrow frames of traditional text-bound criticism.


constructivism; premodern literature; rhetoric; memory; imagination

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