Systems Theory as an Approach to the Study of Literature Origins and Functions of Literature

Author: Sadowski, Piotr


". . . Piotr Sadowski has made a bold intervention in the contemporary fields of literary theory. At a time of increased specialization in the academy he has attempted to bring the perspectives of the sciences, specifically the insights provided by systems theory, to bear on the humanities. . . . this is a study that will be of interest to anyone working in the field of literary theory, but it also has a lot to offer to the literary historian. It offers an alternative account of literary reception as communications-based that will interest anyone seeks an alternative to post-Saussurean theories of language and discourse, Sadowski making a refreshing case for literature as a form of purposive human action in a world that is open to rational enquiry. . . . this is a book that is striking in its sheer scope. One is carried along by the steady flow of Sadowski's argument, and finds oneself having to question or defend one's own basic views about literature and culture. There are not that many books about which one can say that." – Nicholas Daly "This is a provocative book in the sense that it takes issue with some of the dominant trends in poststructuralist theory and yet does not wish to return to any sort of free empiricism. What Sadowski argues for is that the study of literature should be put on a rational and scientific basis. But he is careful to stress that what he is offering is a framework for further investigation, not a template." – John Scattergood

"As a teaching resource, particularly to assist students who insist on some measure of empirical certainty when they study literature, Sadowski's volume is, indeed, valuable. . . . Presenting systems theory a a new and innovative way to explore the nature of literary composition and reader's response to it, Sadowski offers an approach respecting meaning in texts." – Catherine Malloy

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:

Foreword, Preface by Andrzej Wiercinski

Introduction: the Two cultures; the significance of Theory; systems Theory; Terminology

1.Literature as Interaction: Reaction and its Causes; Literary composition; Literary Reception; Self-coupling; Literary process

2.Information and Literary Meaning: Information; Parainformation;Metainformation

3.Psyche and Environment: The Autonomous system; Correlator; Psyche; consciousness; Symbolization

4.Psychological configurations: The persona-Ego complex; The Ego-Unconscious Complex; Psychic non-Adaptation; Psychological types

5.Needs and Human nature: "Body" and "Soul"; Human Needs; Human Nature

6.Systems Definition of Literature: What is Literature?; Genesis of Literature; Literary Protagonist

7.Evolution of Literature: Dynamics of Change; Tradition and Innovation; Dynamics of Literary History

Notes; Bibliography; Index