and his history, and the reader and hisnhistory back into the picture. One criticnwho particularly concentrates on thenwriter and his time is Gerald L. Bruns.nHe boldly states: “For me, the history ofninterpretation is the history of writing,ntextuality, and understanding, which Intake to be practices that make their appearancenwithin traditions, not mentalnacts or constructions to be analyzed accordingnto timeless models” (emphasisnadded). Bruns supports and practicesnwhat he terms a “rhetorical” approachnto interpretation, which he opposes ton”method,” a practice that “tries to reducenrather than to amplily, for it wantsnalways to determine what cannot bensaid in this or that case, and so by closurenor the natural exclusiveness of its designnit forbids all statements but those it cannaccount for.” Obviously, it can accountnonly for the given words on the page—nyet it even has problems with them.nBruns brings himself into a confrontationnwith philosophical methodologynand the practice of much modern literaryncriticism: “From Socrates to Derridanthe philosophers have always definednthemselves by their opposition to whatncan be put publicly into words.” Thus,nthese philosophers and critics producencryptic analyses. Bruns practices a hermeneuticalnapproach which attempts tonbring “what is hidden into the open”nthrough several strategies, including additions,nrevisions, and other inventions.nOf course, Bruns does not put all philosophersninto the same hermetically sealednboat. He dedicates Inventions to Hans-nGeorg Gadamer, a professor of philosophynemeritus at the University of Heidelbergnand a visiting professor of philosophynat Boston College. Gadamer is anmajor theorist of hermeneutics; an emphasisnon tradition is evident in his approachnand in that of his epigones.nGadamer’s ascendency is quite evident.nFor example, The Horizon of Literaturenis primarily composed of essaysnthat work toward defining the state ofnliterature and literary studies. The subjectsnare wide-ranging, from poststructuralismnto the ethics of editors in thenSOinChronicles of Culturenediting process. The final 30 pages of thenbook are a section entitled “HumanisticnDialogue.” It opens with a presentationnthat Gadamer originally presented orallyn(and subsequently revised). It is followednby responses to it. The finalnwords are Gadamer’s. His remarks conclude:n”Hermeneutics, as the art of understanding,nis realized in open readinessnto listen and to learn.” The wordnopen in that sentence can be opposed tonthe “closed” methodologies of the socalledn’Tale Literary Mafia” (e.g., denMan’s). Interestingly, the same universitynthat brought forth those strugglingnwith “local difficulties of interpretation”nis, through its publishing arm, also makingnGadamer more readily available.nRecently (February 1983), Yale UniversitynPress published a paperback editionnof Gadamer’s Dialogue and Dialectic:nEight Hermeneutical Studies on Plato,nwhich it initially brought out in hardcovernin 1980.nV>learly, then, there is hope for historynin criticism. But its reassertion won’tnbe simple: Modems like to think themselvesnto be highly sophisticated. Nornwill it be easy: says Bruns, “there is nonone more hateful to the philosophernthan the rhetorician, who has his eyenfixed not on systems but on the plenumnof his inventory, because he knows thatnyou must be ready to take everythingninto account in a world where nothing isnIn the Mailnpredictable and anything can happen.”nPresentiy, the philosophers and the systematizersnare in the dominant positionsnand they won’t readily be dislodged.nOne thing that critics and interpretersnshould do is to build their inventories,navail themselves of whatever aspects ofnschools or methodologies that diey cannblend into a useful synthesis. If Barthes,nde Man, Derrida, Bruns, Gadamer, ornwhomever provides something of valuenwithin a larger context that may be valueless,nthen that nu^et should be retained:ngold mines, after all, consist primarily ofnuseless dirt. Robert Scholes makes somenserviceable recommendations in hisnSemiotics and Interpretation that shouldnhelp make “semiotics” a part of thenworking vocabularies of all critics,nteachers, and students of literature.nSemiotics is the study of codes. Codes,nas Scholes handily defines them, arennothing more than “the systems that enablenhuman beings to perceive certainnevents or entities as signs, bearing meaning.”nHe adds, “These systems are themselvesnparts or aspects of human culture.”nThe before-mentioned Leibowitz delinlist is a code that must be placed withinnthe context of the culture that producednthe code in order for it to have meaning.nScholes is opposed to the New Criticsnand others who attempt to divorce antext (Scholes uses textrathei than worknas he says the former is “open” and thenlatter “dosed”) from history and culture;nJhe World of Philosophy: An IntrodticUon by Robert Bruce McLaren; Nelson-Hall;nChicago. A textbook that emphasizes that philosophers are people, too.nArt and the Wish to Die by Fred Cutter; Nelson-Hall; Chicago. The problem: presenting anbook on suicide that people will want to pick up. The solution: utilizing over 180 works of art asnillustrative material. TTie result: ouch.nPapal Infallibility: An /^plication ofLonergan’s TheotogicalMethod edited by TerrynJ. Tekippe; University Press of America; Washington, DC. To massage a line from AlexandernPope: “Theology still, but Theology methodized”nJustice and War in ^}e Nuclear Age edited by Hiilip F. lawier; Univetsity Press ofAtnerica;nWashington, DC. Sense on the subject from a conference sponsored by the American CatholicnCommittee with religious and lay people includit^ Most Rev. John J. O’Connor and Robert R Reilly.nnn