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Muslim Kulikov
Muslim Kulikov

Roman Ingarden's Theory of the Literary Work of Art: A Phenomenological and Ontological Study


Roman Ingarden and The Literary Work of Art




If you are interested in philosophy, aesthetics, or literary theory, you may have heard of Roman Ingarden. He was a Polish philosopher who lived from 1893 to 1970 and was one of the most influential figures in phenomenology and ontology. He is best known for his book The Literary Work of Art, which was first published in German in 1931 and later translated into English in 1973. In this book, he develops a comprehensive and original theory of what constitutes a literary work of art, how it is structured, how it is interpreted, and how it is valued.




roman ingarden the literary work of art pdf


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In this article, we will explore some of the main ideas and arguments that Ingarden presents in his book. We will also discuss why it is useful and convenient to have a PDF version of his book and how you can access it online. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of Ingarden's philosophy and its relevance for contemporary aesthetics and literary criticism.


The Ontology of the Literary Work of Art




One of the central questions that Ingarden tries to answer in his book is: what is a literary work of art? How does it differ from other types of artworks, such as paintings, sculptures, or music?


Ingarden argues that a literary work of art is not a physical object, but an intentional object. This means that it is not something that exists independently of the human mind, but something that is created and intended by an author and perceived and interpreted by a reader. A literary work of art is not identical to the material medium that carries it, such as a book, a manuscript, or a digital file. It is also not identical to the author's or the reader's mental images or emotions that are associated with it. Rather, it is a purely intentional object that has its own essence and identity, regardless of how it is manifested or experienced.


This does not mean that a literary work of art is a mere abstraction or a fiction. Ingarden claims that a literary work of art is a real object that belongs to a special ontological category, which he calls the realm of ideal objects. This realm is different from the realm of real objects, which are subject to spatio-temporal and causal laws, and from the realm of purely intentional objects, which are dependent on the acts of consciousness that create or perceive them. The realm of ideal objects is composed of entities that are invariant, objective, and intersubjective. They are invariant because they do not change over time or place. They are objective because they are not affected by the subjective opinions or preferences of individuals. They are intersubjective because they can be shared and communicated by different subjects.


Ingarden's ontology of the literary work of art has several implications for aesthetics and literary theory. For instance, it implies that a literary work of art has a fixed identity that cannot be altered or destroyed by external factors, such as censorship, plagiarism, or physical damage. It also implies that a literary work of art has a universal validity that transcends the historical and cultural contexts in which it was created or received. Moreover, it implies that a literary work of art can be analyzed and evaluated according to rational and objective criteria, rather than subjective and relative ones.


The Four Strata of the Literary Work of Art




How can we analyze and evaluate a literary work of art according to Ingarden's ontology? Ingarden proposes that we can do so by examining its structure and meaning at four different levels, which he calls the four strata of the literary work of art. These are:


  • The sound stratum, which consists of the sounds or letters that form the words and sentences of the text.



  • The meaning stratum, which consists of the meanings or concepts that are expressed by the words and sentences of the text.



  • The stratum of presented objects, which consists of the objects or events that are represented or depicted by the text.



  • The stratum of schematic aspects, which consists of the aesthetic qualities or effects that are produced by the text.



Each stratum has its own elements, rules, and functions that contribute to the overall structure and meaning of the literary work of art. Ingarden argues that these strata are not isolated or independent from each other, but rather interrelated and interdependent. They form a complex and dynamic whole that can be explored and understood from different perspectives and methods.


The Schematized Aspects




One of the most interesting and original aspects of Ingarden's theory is his account of the schematized aspects. These are the linguistic and stylistic features of the text that create certain aesthetic effects or impressions in the reader's mind. For example, these can include:


  • The choice and arrangement of words, such as rhyme, rhythm, meter, alliteration, assonance, etc.



  • The choice and arrangement of sentences, such as syntax, punctuation, parallelism, antithesis, etc.



  • The choice and arrangement of paragraphs, such as indentation, spacing, transitions, etc.



  • The choice and arrangement of chapters, sections, or parts, such as titles, subtitles, headings, etc.



  • The choice and use of literary devices, such as metaphor, simile, personification, irony, etc.



  • The choice and use of literary genres, such as poetry, prose, drama, etc.



  • The choice and use of literary modes, such as realism, fantasy, satire, etc.



Ingarden argues that these schematized aspects are not arbitrary or accidental, but intentional and meaningful. They are not mere ornaments or embellishments, but essential and integral parts of the literary work art. They serve to enhance and enrich the expression and communication of the meaning and value of the literary work of art.


Ingarden distinguishes between two types of schematized aspects: the material schematized aspects and the formal schematized aspects. The material schematized aspects are those that are determined by the material medium of the text, such as the sounds or letters. The formal schematized aspects are those that are determined by the form or structure of the text, such as the sentences or paragraphs. Ingarden argues that both types of schematized aspects are equally important and interrelated, and that they can create various kinds of aesthetic effects, such as harmony, contrast, tension, balance, etc.


The Quasi-Judgments




Another important and original aspect of Ingarden's theory is his account of the quasi-judgments. These are the statements or propositions that are implied or suggested by the text, but not explicitly asserted or affirmed. For example, these can include:


  • The thematic quasi-judgments, which are related to the main theme or message of the text.



  • The evaluative quasi-judgments, which are related to the moral or aesthetic value of the text or its presented objects.



  • The emotive quasi-judgments, which are related to the emotional or affective attitude of the text or its presented objects.



  • The persuasive quasi-judgments, which are related to the rhetorical or argumentative purpose of the text.



Ingarden argues that these quasi-judgments are not objective or subjective, but intersubjective. They are not based on factual evidence or personal opinion, but on a common understanding and agreement between the author and the reader. They are not fixed or definitive, but open and provisional. They are not dogmatic or authoritative, but suggestive and persuasive.


Ingarden claims that these quasi-judgments play a crucial role in the interpretation and evaluation of a literary work of art. They provide clues and hints for the reader to grasp the meaning and value of the text and its presented objects. They also invite and challenge the reader to form his or her own judgments and opinions about the text and its presented objects. They stimulate and provoke the reader's critical and creative thinking and feeling.


The Concretization of the Literary Work of Art




How does a literary work of art become a concrete aesthetic object in the reader's imagination? Ingarden calls this process the concretization of the literary work of art. He argues that this process is not passive or mechanical, but active and creative. It is not a mere reproduction or duplication of the literary work of art, but a transformation and completion of it.


Ingarden explains that a literary work of art is not a fully determined or completed object, but an incomplete object. It has certain elements or aspects that are determined, such as the words or sentences, and certain elements or aspects that are indeterminate, such as the presented objects or events. The indeterminate elements or aspects are those that are not fully specified or defined by the text, but left open or vague for the reader's imagination. For example, these can include:


  • The appearance of the presented objects, such as their color, shape, size, etc.



  • The actions of the presented objects, such as their movements, gestures, expressions, etc.



  • The thoughts and feelings of the presented objects, such as their motives, intentions, emotions, etc.



  • The background or context of the presented objects, such as their history, culture, environment, etc.



  • The relations among the presented objects, such as their similarities, differences, conflicts, etc.



  • The consequences or implications of the presented objects, such as their effects, results, meanings, etc.



Ingarden argues that these indeterminate elements or aspects are not defects or flaws, but essential and integral parts of the literary work of art. They are not gaps or holes, but spaces or potentials. They are not problems or difficulties, but opportunities or challenges. They are not limitations or restrictions, but freedoms or possibilities.


Ingarden claims that these indeterminate elements or aspects require and enable the reader to concretize the literary work of art. This means that the reader has to fill in or specify the indeterminate elements or aspects with his or her own imagination and understanding. The reader has to create or construct a concrete and coherent image or representation of the literary work of art in his or her mind. The reader has to complete or finalize the literary work of art with his or her own contribution and participation.


The Role of the Author




What is the role of the author in the concretization of the literary work of art? Ingarden argues that the author is not a dictator or a master, but a guide or a partner. The author is not the sole creator or owner of the literary work of art, but a co-creator or a co-owner. The author is not the final authority or the ultimate source of the literary work of art, but a mediator or a facilitator.


Ingarden explains that the author has two main functions in the concretization of the literary work of art: the intentional function and the directive function. The intentional function is related to the author's intention or purpose in creating and presenting the literary work of art. The directive function is related to the author's guidance or influence on the reader's concretization of the literary work of art.


The intentional function involves the author's selection and organization


of the elements or aspects of the literary work of art. The author chooses and arranges the words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters, etc. that form the text. The author also chooses and arranges the meanings, concepts, objects, events, etc. that are expressed or represented by the text. The author determines and defines some of the elements or aspects of the literary work of art, and leaves others indeterminate or open. The author creates and establishes a certain structure and style


for the literary work of art, which reflect his or her vision and voice.


The directive function involves the author's suggestion and persuasion


of the reader's imagination and understanding. The author provides clues and hints for the reader to grasp and interpret the meaning and value of the literary work of art. The author also invites and challenges the reader to fill in and specify the indeterminate elements or aspects with his or her own imagination and understanding. The author creates and establishes a certain atmosphere and tone


for the literary work of art, which affect his or her mood and attitude.


Ingarden argues that these two functions are not contradictory or incompatible, but complementary and interdependent. The author does not impose or dictate his or her intention or direction on the reader, but rather proposes or offers them as possible options or alternatives. The author does not limit or constrain the reader's concretization of the literary work of art, but rather stimulates or encourages it as a creative activity or process.


The Role of the Reader




What is the role of the reader in the concretization of the literary work of art? Ingarden argues that the reader is not a slave or a follower, but a leader or a partner. The reader is not a passive receiver or consumer of the literary work of art, but an active producer or creator. The reader is not a subordinate or a dependent of the author, but an equal or an independent.


the literary work of art: the receptive function and the productive function. The receptive function is related to the reader's perception or reception of the literary work of art. The productive function is related to the reader's imagination or creation of the literary work of art.


The receptive function involves the reader's attention and understanding


of the elements or aspects of the literary work of art. The reader pays attention and listens to the sounds or letters that form the words and sentences of the text. The reader also pays attention and comprehends the meanings or concepts that are expressed or represented by the words and sentences of the text. The reader perceives and recognizes some of the elements or aspects of the literary work of art, and ignores or overlooks others. The reader follows and respects the structure and style


that the author has created and established for the literary work of art, which convey his or her vision and voice.


The productive function involves the reader's imagination and interpretation


of the elements or aspects of the literary work of art. The reader imagines and visualizes the objects or events that are presented or depicted by the text. The reader also imagines and evaluates the thoughts and feelings that are implied or suggested by the text. The reader fills in and specifies the indeterminate elements or aspects with his or her own imagination and understanding. The reader creates and constructs a concrete and coherent image or representation of the literary work of art in his or her mind. The reader completes and finalizes the literary work of art with his or her own contribution and participation.


Ingarden argues that these two functions are not separate or independent, but integrated and interrelated. The reader does not merely receive or consume the literary work of art, but also produces or creates it. The reader does not merely perceive or recognize the literary work of art, but also imagines or interprets it. The reader does not merely follow or respect the author's intention or direction, but also proposes or offers his or her own intention or direction.


The Value of the Literary Work of Art




What are the criteria and sources of aesthetic value that Ingarden identifies for a literary work of art? Ingarden argues that a literary work of art has two main types of value: the intrinsic value and the extrinsic value. The intrinsic value is related to the qualities or properties that belong to the literary work of art itself. The extrinsic value is related to the effects or benefits that result from the literary work of art for other entities.


The intrinsic value involves two aspects: the aesthetic qualities and the aesthetic experience. The aesthetic qualities are those that make a literary work of art aesthetically pleasing and valuable in itself. The aesthetic experience is that which makes a literary work of art aesthetically pleasing and valuable for the reader.


The Aesthetic Qualities




What are some of the specific qualities that make a literary work of art aesthetically pleasing and valuable in itself? Ingarden identifies several criteria and categories for evaluating the aesthetic qualities of a literary work of art, such as:


The completeness and coherence


  • of the structure and meaning of the literary work of art.



The originality and creativity


  • of the expression and communication of the meaning and value of the literary work of art.



The complexity and richness


  • of the elements or aspects of the literary work of art.



The harmony and brightness


  • of the sound stratum and the meaning stratum of the literary work of art.



The vividness and dynamism


  • of the stratum of presented objects of the literary work of art.



The beauty and sublimity


  • of the stratum of schematic aspects of the literary work of art.



The truthfulness and significance


  • of the thematic quasi-judgments of the literary work of art.



The rightness and nobility


  • of the evaluative quasi-judgments of the literary work of art.



The intensity and sincerity


  • of the emotive quasi-judgments of the literary work of art.



The persuasiveness and elegance


  • of of the literary work of art.



Ingarden argues that these criteria and categories are not exhaustive or exclusive, but indicative and illustrative. They are not absolute or universal, but relative and contextual. They are not fixed or static, but dynamic and evolving. They are not independent or isolated, but interrelated and interdependent. They form a complex and holistic system that determines and reflects the intrinsic value of the literary work of art.


The Aesthetic Experience




What are some of the effects and benefits that a literary work of art c


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