The paper focuses on several conceptual nuances which I consider that could enter into a hermeneutical dialogue and, thus, they could become complementary modes of reinterpreting certain topics of literary and aesthetic theory. These dynamic concepts are to be analyzed from the viewpoint of certain theoretical narratives, around which they seem to gather and to nourish a few epistemological instruments and perspectives: the secondary (a concept proposed by a “travelling theorist”, situated in-between cultures, Virgil Nemoianu), the political and historical turn in the literary studies (in this respect, New Historicism being a main critical perspective and direction of thought) and, conversely, the “literary turn” in political and social thought. Such comprehensive syntagms, which coagulate around important hermeneutical narratives of the 20th century and of the first decade of the 21st century, might prove relevant for reassessing the social and anthropological influence of literary theory and of aesthetic epistemology. My argument will follow some critical reenactments of the seconday – and the dialogue, either subtle or radically polemical, or the rupture between the secondary and the principal – within the literary turn of the nineties and then within the “digital turn” and the approaches indebted to “distant reading” (Franco Moretti) in the years 2000.

Keywords: the Secondary, the Literary Turn, the Digital Turn, Virgil Nemoianu, Martha Nussbaum, Stanley Cavell.