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A Companion to the Philosophy of Literature

Garry L. Hagberg (Editor), Walter Jost (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4443-1560-8
568 pages
November 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
A Companion to the Philosophy of Literature (1444315609) cover image


This monumental collection of new and recent essays from an international team of eminent scholars represents the best contemporary critical thinking relating to both literary and philosophical studies of literature.
  • Helpfully groups essays into the field's main sub-categories, among them ‘Relations Between Philosophy and Literature’, ‘Emotional Engagement and the Experience of Reading’, ‘Literature and the Moral Life’, and ‘Literary Language’
  • Offers a combination of analytical precision and literary richness
  • Represents an unparalleled work of reference for students and specialists alike, ideal for course use
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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors viii

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 1
Garry L. Hagberg and Walter Jost

Part I Relations between Philosophy and Literature 5

1 Philosophy as Literature and More than Literature 7
Richard Shusterman

2 Philosophy and Literature: Friends of the Earth? 22
Roger A. Shiner

3 Philosophy and Literature – and Rhetoric: Adventures in Polytopia 38
Walter Jost

4 Philosophy and/as/of Literature 52
Arthur C. Danto

Part II Emotional Engagement and the Experience of Reading 69

5 Emotion and the Understanding of Narrative 71
Jenefer Robinson

6 Feeling Fictions 93
Roger Scruton

7 The Experience of Reading 106
Peter Kivy

8 Self-Defining Reading: Literature and the Constitution of Personhood 120
Garry L. Hagberg

Part III Philosophy, Tragedy, and Literary Form 159

9 Tragedy and Philosophy 161
Anthony J. Cascardi

10 Iago's Elenchus: Shakespeare, Othello, and the Platonic Inheritance 174
M. W. Rowe

11 Catharsis 193
Jonathan Lear

12 Passion, Counter-Passion, Catharsis: Flaubert (and Beckett) on Feeling Nothing 218
Joshua Landy

Part IV Literature and the Moral Life 239

13 Perceptive Equilibrium: Literary Theory and Ethical Theory 241
Martha C. Nussbaum

14 Henry James, Moral Philosophers, Moralism 268
Cora Diamond

15 Literature and the Idea of Morality 285
Eileen John

16 Styles of Self-Absorption 300
Daniel Brudney

Part V Narrative and the Question of Literary Truth 329

17 Narration, Imitation, and Point of View 331
Gregory Currie

18 How and What We Can Learn from Fiction 350
Mitchell Green

19 Literature and Truth 367
Peter Lamarque

20 Truth in Poetry: Particulars and Universals 385
Richard Eldridge

Part VI Intention and Biography in Criticism 399

21 Authorial Intention and the Varieties of Intentionalism 401
Paisley Livingston

22 Art as Techne, or, The Intentional Fallacy and the Unfinished Project of Formalism 420
Henry Staten

23 Biography in Literary Criticism 436
Stein Haugom Olsen

24 Getting Inside Heisenberg’s Head 453
Ray Monk

Part VII On Literary Language 465

25 Wittgenstein and Literary Language 467
Jon Cook and Rupert Read

26 Exemplification and Expression 491
Charles Altieri

27 At Play in the Fields of Metaphor 507
Ted Cohen

28 Macbeth Appalled 521
Stanley Cavell

Index 541

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Author Information

Garry L. Hagberg is the James H. Ottaway Professor of Philosophy and Aesthetics at Bard College, and has in recent years held a Chair in the School of Philosophy at the University of East Anglia and a visiting fellowship at Cambridge University. He has published widely in philosophical and literary contexts; his recent books include Art and Ethical Criticism (Blackwell, 2008) and Describing Ourselves: Wittgenstein and Autobiographical Consciousness (2008). He is joint editor of the journal Philosophy and Literature.

Walter Jost is Professor of English at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Rhetorical Thought in John Henry Newman (1989) and Rhetorical Investigations (2004), and has edited or co-edited six previous books, including (with Wendy Olmsted) A Companion to Rhetoric and Rhetorical Criticism (Blackwell, 2004).

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The Wiley Advantage

  • Focuses on the main themes and topics in the philosophy of literature
  • Composed of all newly commissioned essays written by leading scholars in the field and provides lucid and engaging coverage of the key figures, terms, topics and problems in philosophy of literature
  • Provides the ideal basis for course use, representing an unparalleled work of reference for students and specialists alike
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"Recommended. Library collections supporting upper-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers." (Choice, 1 March 2011)

"It can be firmly recommended for the library of any university or college that has courses in either literature or philosophy". (Reference Reviews, 1 December 2010)

"In its richness, variety, learning, and consistent balance, this volume, which assembles some of the great names in the field, along with brilliant younger critics like Joshua Landy and Rupert Read, will serve as a cornerstone for anyone interested in the inextricability of philosophy and literature. Indeed, the various branches of philosophy, especially ethics and epistemology, emerge as indispensable for an understanding of major literary texts from Shakespeare to Stevens."
Marjorie Perloff, author of Wittgenstein's Ladder

"In the 1980s, English-speaking philosophers began taking a renewed systematic interest in literature, not so much to determine what sort of thing literature might be as to understand philosophy itself in relation to such things as narrative, tragedy, and literary language. This comprehensive volume brings together lively discussion and debate on the most important work that has been done in this area. A true and faithful companion indeed."
Gerald Bruns, Notre Dame University

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