Hans-Georg Gadamer’s theory of hermeneutics is one of the most important modern theories of interpretation and understanding, and at its heart is the experience of reading literature. In this clear and comprehensive guide to Gadamer’s thought, Karl Simms:
- presents an overview of Gadamer’s life and works, outlining his importance to hermeneutic theory and its place in literary studies
- explains and puts into context his key ideas, including ‘dialogue’, ‘phronēsis’, ‘play’, ‘tradition’, and ‘horizon’
- shows how Gadamer’s ideas have been influential in the interpretation of literary texts
- explains Gadamer’s debates with key contemporaries and successors, such as Habermas, Ricoeur and Derrida
- provides detailed suggestions for further reading.
With a significance that crosses disciplinary boundaries from cultural studies, literary theory and philosophy through to history, music and fine arts, Gadamer’s pioneering work on hermeneutic theory remains of crucial importance to the study of texts in the humanities.