Conventions and rules in literature

Stein Haugom OLSEN

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Views of what role convention plays in the creation and appreciation of art works gravitate towards two extremes. One view holds that works of art can be apprehended and appreciated as well as created with no reference to convention. The other claims that conventions fully determine how works of art are apprehended and are therefore necessary conditions for the creation of works of art as well as constitutive of appreciation. The former is a version of the Romantic view of art as something that appeals spontaneously to man's most profound emotions, to man's sentient nature, without making use of or needing mediating conventions. The conventionalist view denies that it is possible to respond spontaneously to art. All apprehension and appreciation of art are structured by conventions, and the reader/audience cannot go beyond these conventions because they constitute the experience of the work of art. This paper explains the sense in which the constitutive view may be best understood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-42
Number of pages18
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000


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