Lee Siegel, in The Gay Science: Queer Theory, Literature, and the Sexualization of Everything, explains where hermeneutics went.
Modern hermeneutics, from Schleiermacher through Hans Georg Gadamer's Truth and Method (1960), has run in two currents. The first was the gradual conditioning of meaning and value on the shifting templates of psychology, history, and, most of all, language. In this outlook, the self was always on the verge of cognitive calamity. But the second current was founded on Gadamer's belief that mutual comprehension and shared values between people was possible. The so-called hermeneutic circle--to understand the whole, you have to grasp the parts, which changes your perception of the whole; to understand a part, you have to grasp the whole, which changes your perception of the part--was not a ceaseless flux. It was an affirmation that ultimate meaning exists as an elusive mystery, that it can be grasped in shards and echoes, and that preservation of a secret itself communicates a cherishable meaning. Gadamer borrowed many of his ideas from Heidegger, but Heidegger had sown the iron seeds of hermeneutical extremism. He lowered the boom on hermeneutics by raising the stakes: he made the hermeneutical enterprise synonymous with existence itself. For Heidegger, "Being" is the ultimate truth of existence: to go about the business of living in the deepest sense is to go about the business of interpreting truth and finally understanding it. Such "Being," however, is beyond rational articulation. So obscure, so mystifying, so all-encompassing is Heidegger's Being that, his vatic pretensions notwithstanding, it leaves nothing to interpret but other interpretations.
And this was the loftily regressive situation from which the French poststructuralists embarked. Dismissing Heidegger's foundation of Being as a quaint metaphysical holdover, they retained his assault on reason. They made their happy escape from shared meaning. Pp. 184-5 Lee Siegel, in *The Gay Science: Queer Theory, Literature, and from enowning by enowning