László Halász
Who's afraid of Siegfried Schmidt?
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Still there is another issue which I have to talk about. ESL, if you prefer, EMS being as comprehensive a theory as it is, cannot consist of directly testable hypotheses but rather it provides us with a frame for further research directions. Schmidt's main aim - I think I define it correctly - has been to reach a focal shift and launch studies on the text-thematizing activities of producers, mediators, recipients and postprocessors of literary and other media phenomena. This would require a systematic and possibly simultaneous historical, sociological, linguistic and psychological study of the writer (and other author) and his/her activities as creative process, of the work itself, of the reception and impact of the work, of the mediation process (primarily literary and media education). Based on the presented resistance against ESL it is obvious why a wide circle of literary and media scholars has not accomplished such studies.

But if we remain in our circle we have to see that the focal shift has been realized rather fragmentarily even here. Unfortunately, we do not have the mentioned systematic studies in abundance at all. The writer's and other author's activities especially have not yet achieved sufficient prominence. Although the reading process has been relatively well-explored, it is rather peculiar that we can say more about expository text reading than about poem or novel reading. Without studying them using scientific method the ecological validity of ESL is doubtful. Yet as I have already pointed out (Halász 1995) this validity is of primary importance from the point of view of the efficiency of the studies of post-processing and mediation process. Thus, it is rather sad that there is no close connection between the works on different areas of ESL, and even the coherence between the works within the same area is weak.

Although my argumentation was rather different from Schmidt's (1997, 147) when at the end of his exposition he questioned whether IGEL as a representative gathering of ESL was more than »a biannually meeting flock of scholars«, as an old member of the flock I could not say that I did not understand his bitterness. Nevertheless, I have not shared it absolutely. Not only for practical reasons because some ESL colleagues' works - sometimes influenced by Schmidt - have been giving me direct or indirect stimulus during my research activity. In general, I am moderately optimistic about the future of ESL. I suppose what has not been reached by a sudden paradigm shift can be reached slowly step by step, even if these steps are not optimally coordinated. Maybe my imagination is too bold, but in the long run I cannot imagine literary scholarship without solid empirical basis.

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