By Hans Robert Jauss
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264) is the social in art properly defined. According to Adorno, it is not until it becomes autonomous that art attains its social rank. Precisely in negating all social ties does it become eminently social. It is true that owing to the law of aesthetic form, art remains mere appearance vis-a-vis social reality. But it is by virtue of this very fact that it can become the agency of a social truth before which the false appearance of the factual, the untrue, and the unreconciled in society's actual condition must reveal itself.
For further research in this field, we now have Mikel Dufrenne's Phenomenologie de ('experience esthetique (1967) which sees itself as a transcendental analysis of the contemplative act and its "affective a prioris" and deals with several of the arts. With his The Act of Reading (1976), Wolfgang Iser complemented the theory of reception with a theory of aesthetic effect that leads from processes of assimilation to the constitution of meaning by the reader and describes fiction as a communicative structure.
15 The seductive power of aesthetic identification was criticized by both the orthodox and the enlightened critics of the secular Trostbuchlein (book of consolation). For not only did it offer a pattern of conduct to an undefined aesthetic perception that ran counter to the bourgeois order: "every young man longs to love like that. " It also consoled the unrealizability of the expectations thus aroused: "Let this little book be your friend," a consolation which up to that time had been the prerogative of religious edification.
Aesthetic Experience and Literary Hermeneutics by Hans Robert Jauss