In place of a hermeneutics we need an erotics of art. (Susan Sontag, "Against Interpretation")
This is to give a conclusion before the premise. Part of the problem for Sontage is the artificial, illusory separation of form and content, especially the privileging of content over form:
And it is the defense of art which gives birth to the odd vision by which something we have learend to call "form" is separated off from something we have learned to call "content," and to the well-intentioned move which makes content essential and form accessory. (ibid.)
This illusory separation of form and content seems to be an act of violence whereby the critic creates a fissure in the work of art. It is in this violent tearing apart that space is made for interpretation, itself an act that sustains the illusion that makes it possible:
...it is the habit of approaching works of art in order to interpret them that sustains the fancy that there really is such a thing as the content of a work of art. (ibid.)
...interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art. Even more. It is the revenge of the intellect upon the world. To interpret is to impoverish, to deplete the world--in order to set up a shadow world of "meanings." It is to turn the world into this world. ("This world"! As if there were any other.) The world, our world, is depleted, impoverished enough. Away with all duplicates of it, until we again experience more immediately what we have. (ibid.)
Such sentiments recall Montaigne in "On Experience," in which he is also extraordinarily against interpretation and doubts any ability to make any meaning through interpretation as well as any ability to know a text in itself: both are impossibilities.
Interpretation turns to the text, or work of art, into something it is not--if it did not, it would not be interpretation, but merely restatement. As it opens one fissure, it attempts to close another: the gap between text and ourselves as interpretation generates "meanings," which Sontag sees as dissatisfaction with the text, a desire to transmute it into something else.
How to resist, then, this violence of meaning? This violence of tearing apart the text to tame it? Partially, one might emphasize formal analysis, express the importance of its shape. As the Montaigne allusion (from me, not Sontag) suggests, to experience a text rather than interpret it, feel it rather than explain it:
Ours is a culture based on excess, on overproduction; the result is a steady loss of sharpness in our sensory experience. All the conditions of modern life-its material plenitude, its sheer crowdedness-conjoin to dull our sensory faculties.... What is important now is to recover our senses. We must learn to see more, to hear more, to feel more.
Seeing, hearing, feeling, experiencing, rather than interpreting, explaining, or, really, explaining away:
The function of criticism should be to show how it is what it is, even that it is what it is, rather than to show what it means.
In a sense, as Sontag starts her essay, it is to recover the magic of the word, phrase, text, that precedes any mimesis.
It is such a thing, such a difficult, evanescent quality of a work of art that Roland Barthes feels toward and touches in The Pleasure of the Text, an erotics of reading.