Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


George Fragopoulos

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature | Liberal Studies | Reading and Language


This thesis examines the historical traditions of hermeneutics and its potential to enhance the process of literary interpretation and understanding. The discussion draws from the historical emplotment of hermeneutics as literary theory and method presented in the Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism with further elaboration from several other texts. The central aim of the thesis is to illuminate the challenges inherent in the literary interpretive arts by investigating select philosophical and linguistic approaches to the study and practice of literary theory and criticism embodied within the canonical works of the Anthology. The narrative begins in ancient Greece, traverses medieval and modern developments in the western literary interpretive arts and closes with a brief survey of twentieth-century writings that form a diverse mosaic of disaggregated literary theory and criticism from several perspectives. The thesis concludes with suggestions for improving the literary interpretive process and forecasts the continuing expansion of the field into new culturally informed topic areas in the decades to follow.