One Answer

  1. Let's start with a simple one. You asked me for directions on the street. I'm telling you, “straight to the intersection and turn left.” And you understood me as ” straight to the Intersection and turn left.” We went there, got lost, didn't find anything, got mad at me, the bastard. Or you could ask “to the store?” and I would say “no, to the traffic light.”

    In this example, it is obvious why to understand and how to achieve understanding.

    A more complex example is when you read in a biology textbook that genes are dominant. Well, imagine automatically how they dominate others. And they are not really dominant, just recessive genes are those genes that are broken in some way. There is, of course, a textbook fault that it doesn't explain this. But you might want to strain yourself, too, if you want to understand exactly what it is.

    You read Pushkin, and he describes some of the realities of the early 19th century in words that are no longer used or used in completely different senses. And you either don't understand what is described at all, or you realize that impossible game is written. And it's all about unusual word usage.

    I deliberately took the obvious cases to highlight the general principle. The author of any text has something to say. Send you information, description, image, and thesis. And if you want to catch this pass, you need to make an effort. So that it doesn't turn out that they threw you a ball, and you have a chair in your hands. Because if you don't accept such passes from the very beginning, then by the end of the book you will have a complete mess in your head. If you don't get to the end, drop it. And if you are going to argue with the author in absentia anywhere in the text, then it turns out that you are arguing with your fantasies on the topic and the author has nothing to do with it. You can do this, many people do, and it can even be useful if you don't forget that this controversy has nothing to do with the author. And then many people will invent something for themselves, and the author is to blame, a fool like that.

    In my examples, it is enough just to establish what was meant. Ask, Google, and read the notes. Why can you read them? Because someone has already done a philological analysis of all of Pushkin for you. And with Pushkin it was easy, but with, say, Dante Alighieri it is already more difficult, due to the historical distance. And from here, different methods of analysis appear. Allowing you to establish, without direct contact with the author, what he still wanted to say. In general, these methods are reduced to creating an interpretation that is as consistent as possible with historical and linguistic data, with the author's biography, and with his other works.

    Yes, there is the concept of “author's death”. But it does not imply the impossibility of understanding, only its redundancy. What you might not understand. That in addition to what the author consciously wanted to say, there is a huge layer of what he said by accident. That if a ball is thrown to you, and you catch a chair, and not only you, but a bunch of people find a chair in their hands, then this chair can also be valuable. That there is a meaning that what was said itself acquired over time and it is also important. Perhaps more important than the author's intent.

    Great works are so great that they turned out to be much larger than their authors.

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