The most celebrated and influential modern doctrines, those of Marx and Freud, actually amount to elaborate systems of hermeneutics, aggressive and impious theories of interpretation. All observable phenomena are bracketed, in Freud’s phrase, as manifest content. This manifest content must be probed and pushed aside to find the true meaning— the latent content— beneath. For Marx, social events like revolutions and wars; for Freud, the events of individual lives (like neurotic symptoms and slips of the tongue) as well as texts (like a dream or a work of art)— all are treated as occasions for interpretation.

Susan Sontag, Against Interpretation