Literaturwissenschaft: Was ist Literatur?

Ist Heinz G. Konsalik Literatur oder Heinrich Böll oder Jane Austen oder Thilo Sarrazin? Kann ein Sachbuch Literatur sein oder ist die Kategorie der Literatur der Prosa vorbehalten? Die Antwort auf diese Fragen hängt offensichtlich davon ab, wie Literatur und damit der Gegenstand der Literaturwissenschaft definiert wird.

Terry Eagleton hat dazu einen Vorschlag vorgelegt:

“It will not do to see literature as an ‘objective’, descriptive category, neither will it do to say that literature is just what people whimsically choose to call literature. For there is nothing at all whimsical about such kinds of value-judgement: they have their roots in deeper structures of belief which are as apparently unshakeable as the Empire State building, What we have uncovered so far, then, is not only that literature does not exist in the sense that insects do, and that the value-judgements by which it is constituted are historically variable, but that these value-judgements themselves have a close relation to social ideologies. They refer in the end not simply to private taste, but to the assumption by which certain social groups excercise and maintain power over others” (Eagleton: Literary Theory. An Introduction, p.14)

Was Literatur ist, ist demnach Ergebnis einer gesellschaftlichen Übreinkunft, die die Machtverhältnisse in der Gesellschaft wiederspiegelt.