Having surveyed diverse historical antecedents of literary anthropology, the author points out some distinct ways in which the term has been used, ie. (1) an anthropology which has some features of literariness; (2) general statements about man and human nature formulated in or implied by literary texts; (3) analyses of general statements about man and human nature that can be found in literary texts and analyses of literary devices which are then used to construct anthropological models (ie. anthropological poetics); (4) theory and history of the functions of literature in human life (anthropology of literature). The author notes that the knowledge about man and man's nature communicated in literature can be as often eye-opening and inspiring as banal and deformed. Given its incurable unreliability, it should always be put to the test of science, one's philosophical convictions or the readers' good sense derived from their experience.
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