This paper addresses the subject of textual creativity by drawing on work done in classical literary theory and criticism, specifically new criticism, structuralism and early poststructuralism. The question of how readers and writers engage creatively with the text is closely related to educational concerns, though they are often thought of as separate disciplines. Modern literary theory in many ways collapses this distinction in its concern for how literariness is achieved and, specifically, how ‘literary quality’ is accomplished in (...) the textual and the social dimension. Taking literary and aesthetic creativity as a point of departure in the reading of five central authors in classical literary criticism, the paper identifies the processes of narrative imagination and emotional identification as central to the role that the textual dimension plays in the creative process of the author/reader—particularly in the way it provides a space for experimentation and self-reflexion through ‘storying’. (shrink)
Through an argumentation analysis can one show how it is feasible to view a narrative religious text such as the Gospel of Matthew as a literary argument. The Gospel is not just good news but an elaborate argument for the standpoint that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah. It is shown why an argumentation analysis needs to be supplemented with a pragmatic literary analysis in order to describe how the evangelist presents his story so as to (...) reach his argumentative objective. The analysis also shows why in the case of historical religious literary texts, certain demands are put on the analyst that are not normally present. (shrink)
Expectations are growing that literature may contribute to clinical skills. Narrative medicine is a quickly expanding area of research. However, many people remain sceptical to the idea of literature having a capacity to save the life of medicine . It is therefore urgent to scrutinize both the arguments in favour of and those against the potential of literature for increasing medical understanding. This article attempts to do this. It does in fact support the assertion that literature is important, but it (...) stresses precisely its character of potential. There is no simple connection between acquaintance with literary texts and understanding of the different aspects of medical work. Much more need to be known about the conditions which allow the experiences residing in texts to be transformed into lived personal knowledge. (shrink)
Problems of functional style differentiation of modern literary language are considered and analyzed in the article. Taking into account the communicative and pragmatic function, various substyles and sublanguages formed as a result of practical language usage in society are singled out on the example of the scientific style.
The essay examines Stanisław Brzozowski’s ideas on mutual interactions between the sphere of culture and the realm of the political. It shows how Brzozowski made use of literary texts in order to elucidate social and political processes. In doing so, he insisted on a specific form of knowledge accessible through texts of literature and literary criticism, which are not limited by the mere “logic of notions.” Following Vico and Sorel Brzozowski detected an “irrational core” at the bases of (...) human collectivities such as above all modern nations, and it is through literature that this core can be revealed. Brzozowski’s understanding of political ideas and concepts is informed—to a decisive degree—by the literary imagination. This can be shown by a semantic and rhetorical analysis of some of his later writings. (shrink)
The writing of literary histories of Tamil literature coincided with the practice of history itself as a discipline starting in the late nineteenth century. The historiographical practices conflated Tamil literary history, religious history, as well as notions of the Tamil nation, which led to such works becoming vitally important legitimising narratives that established the claim of self-defining groups within a new Tamil modernity. The absence of such a narrative also meant the erasure of a particular group, identifying itself (...) as a caste or religious unit, or both, from Tamil history. It is in the light of these cultural and political stakes that we must view the textual and hermeneutical strategies of an old, Tamil, religious group, the Śrīvaiṣṇavas, to position themselves anew in the mid-twentieth century, in what they saw with anxiety as a Tamil, Ṡaiva Age. (shrink)
Presupposing that all knowledge is the study of a unitary order of nature, the author maintains that the study of literature should be included within the larger field of evolutionary theory. He outlines four elementary concepts in evolutionary theory, and he argues that these concepts should regulate our understanding of literature. On the basis of these concepts, he repudiates the antirealist and irrationalist views that, under the aegis of “poststructuralism,” have dominated academic literary studies for the past two decades. (...) He examines the linkage between poststructuralism and standard social science, and he speculates about the ideological and disciplinary motives that have hitherto impeded evolutionary study in both the social sciences and the humanities. Finally, he distinguishes literature from science and argues that literary criticism integrates elements of both. (shrink)
Several recent books have claimed to integrate literary study with evolutionary biology. All of the books here considered, except Robert Storey’s, adopt conceptions of evolutionary theory that are in some way marginal to the Darwinian adaptationist program. All the works attempt to connect evolutionary study with various other disciplines or methodologies: for example, with cultural anthropology, cognitive psychology, the psychology of emotion, neurobiology, chaos theory, or structuralist linguistics. No empirical paradigm has yet been established for this field, but important (...) steps have been taken, especially by Storey, in formulating basic principles, identifying appropriate disciplinary connections, and marking out lines of inquiry. Reciprocal efforts are needed from biologists and social scientists. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: -- List of Contributors -- Acknowledgments -- Introduction: Towards a New Literary Humanism; A. Mousley -- PART I: LITERATURE_AS ERSATZ_THEOLOGY: DEEP SELVES -- Introduction; A. Mousley -- Faith, Feeling, Reality: Anne Brontë as an Existentialist Poet; R. Styler -- Virginia Woolf, Sympathy and Feeling for the Human; K. Martin -- Being Human and being Animal in Twentieth-Century Horse-Whispering Writings: 'Word-Bound Creatures' and 'the Breath of Horses'; E. Graham_ -- Judith Butler and the Catachretic Human; I. (...) Arteel -- PART II: SCEPTICISM,_OR HUMANISM AT THE LIMIT -- Introduction; A. Mousley -- Shakespeare's Refusers: Humanism at the Limit; R. Chamberlain -- Why Eliot Killed Lydgate: 'Joyful Cruelty' in Middlemarch; S. Earnshaw -- Atomised: Mary Midgley and Michel Houellebecq; J. Wallace -- Humanity without Itself: Robert Musil, Giorgio Agamben and Posthumanism; I. Callus_& S. Herbrechter -- PART III: LITERATURE, DEMOCRACY, HUMANISMS FROM BELOW -- Introduction; A. Mousley -- Mobilising Unbribable Life: The Politics of Contemporary Poetry in Bosnia and Herzegovina; D. Arsenijevic -- HUM (-an, -ane, -anity, -anities, -anism, -anise); M. Robson -- Humanising Marx: Theory and Fiction in the Fin de Siècle British Socialist Periodical; D. Mutch -- Civic Humanism: Said, Brecht and Coriolanus; N. Wood -- References -- Index. (shrink)
This paper brings kāmaśāstra into conversation with poetics (alaṅkāraśāstra) and modes of literary criticism associated with Sanskrit literature (kāvya). It shows how historical intersections between kāvya, kāmaśāstra, and alaṅkāraśāstra have produced insightful cross-domain typologies to understand the nature and value of canonical works of Sanskrit literature. In addition to exploring kāmaśāstra typologies broadly as conceptual models and analytical categories useful in literary-critical contexts, this paper takes up a specific formulation from the kāmaśāstra (the padminī-citriṇī-śaṅkhinī-hastinī type-casting of females) used (...) by a twentieth century literary critic to frame the relationships between canonical poets of Sanskrit literature. (shrink)
Introduction.--Literary history and tradition: Eliot, T. S. Tradition and the individual talent. Trilling, L. The sense of the past. Hassan, I. H. The problem of influence in literary history.--An aesthetics of origins and revisionism: Guillen, C. The aesthetics of literary influence. Block, H. M. The concept of influence in comparative literature. Bloom, H. Clinamen, or poetic misprision. Bate, W. J. The second temple.--Reader as participant: Rosenblatt, L. M. Towards a transactional theory of reading. Holland, N. N. Literature (...) as transformation. Fish, S. E. Literature in the reader. (shrink)
This article investigates how students reason and argue to make sense of fictional literature. Excerpts from students’ talk are analysed using the concepts categorisation, particularisation and recontextualisation, and interpreted from a socio-cultural, dialogical perspective. The analyses show that the students’ arguments oscillate between personal experience and the novel, and between categorising and particularising perspectives. The subject relevance of talk that lies between everyday and scientific talk, and between personal and analytic readings, is revealed. The bridging of different readings, different language (...) practices, and different learning contexts is discussed. (shrink)
“Ethical criticism” is an approach to literary studies that holds that reading certain carefully selected novels can make us ethically better people, e.g., by stimulating our sympathetic imagination (Nussbaum). I try to show that this nonargumentative approach cheapens the persuasive force of novels and that its inherent bias and censorship undercuts what is perhaps the principal value and defense of the novel—that reading novels can be critical to one’s learning how to think.
Richard Harland provides a lucid account of all the major movements in literary theory up to the late 1960s. In a lucid and accessible style, he unfolds a comprehensive "story" of literary theory in all its manifestations. Because contemporary literary theory depends heavily upon European thinkers, the book has an international focus, and its coverage extends from philosophers to social theorists to linguists. Harland explains the essential principles of each theoretical position, looking behind particular critical judgments and (...) interpretations in order to convey a core grasp of underlying positions. (shrink)
Michael Ryan's Literary Theory: A Practical Introduction, Second Edition introduces students to the full range of contemporary approaches to the study of literature and culture, from Formalism, Structuralism, and Historicism to Ethnic Studies, Gender Studies, and Global English. Introduces readings from a variety of theoretical perspectives, on classic literary texts. Demonstrates how the varying perspectives on texts can lead to different interpretations of the same work. Contains an accessible account of different theoretical approaches An ideal resource for use (...) in introductory courses on literary theory and criticism. Designed to function both as a stand-alone text and a companion to Rivkin and Ryan’s Literary Theory: An Anthology, Second Edition. (shrink)
The relationship of the author's intention to the meaning of a literary work has been a persistently controversial topic in aesthetics. Anti-intentionalists Wimsatt and Beardsley, in the 1946 paper that launched the debate, accused critics who fueled their interpretative activity by poring over the author's private diaries and life story of committing the 'fallacy' of equating the work's meaning, properly determined by context and linguistic convention, with the meaning intended by the author. Hirsch responded that context and convention are (...) not sufficient to determine a unique meaning for a text; to avoid radical ambiguity we must appeal to the author's intention, which actualizes one of the candidate meanings. Subsequent writers have defended refined versions of these views, and a variety of positions on the spectrum between them, in a debate that remains central to philosophical aesthetics. While much of the debate has focused on literature, similar questions arise with respect to the interpretation of visual artworks. Some of the readings listed below address this matter explicitly. Author Recommends: William K. Wimsatt and Monroe C. Beardsley, 'The Intentional Fallacy', Sewanee Review 54 (1946): 468–88. Locus classicus of the anti-intentionalist position: Wimsatt and Beardsley hold that appeal to the author's intention is always extraneous, since intention cannot override the role of linguistic convention and context in determining meaning. Criticism, they argue, should thus proceed by careful examination of the literary work rather than by sifting through biographical material that might hint at the author's intentions. E. D. Hirsch, Jr., Validity in Interpretation (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1967). The seminal statement of actual intentionalism: Hirsch holds that 'meaning is an affair of consciousness and not of physical signs or things' (23), though he allows that linguistic convention constrains the meanings the author can intend for a particular utterance. He argues that the author's intention is necessary to fix meaning, since the application of conventions alone would typically leave a text wildly indeterminate. Alexander Nehamas, 'The Postulated Author: Critical Monism as a Regulative Ideal', Critical Inquiry 8 (1981): 133–49. Nehamas argues for a version of hypothetical intentionalism according to which interpretation is a matter of attributing an intended meaning to a hypothetical author, distinct from the historical writer. This view allows the interpreter to find meaning even in features of the work that may have been mere accidents on the part of the historical writer. Gary Iseminger, ed., Intention and Interpretation (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1992). Intention and Interpretation is an outstanding collection including both classic and new essays representing most of the major viewpoints in the debate. Noël Carroll, 'Art, Intention, and Conversation', Intention and Interpretation , ed. Gary Iseminger (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1992), 97–131. The essay defends modest actual intentionalism, according to which the work's meaning is one compatible both with the author's meaning intentions and with the conventionally allowable meanings of the text. Carroll holds that literature is on a continuum with ordinary conversation, to which an intentionalist analysis is apt; for this reason he rejects anti-intentionalism and hypothetical intentionalism, which emphasize the purported autonomy of literary works from their authors. Daniel Nathan, 'Irony, Metaphor, and the Problem of Intention', Intention and Interpretation , ed. Gary Iseminger (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1992), 183–202. Nathan argues that even irony and metaphor, which are often thought to require an analysis in terms of the author's actual intentions, are in fact best understood on an anti-intentionalist approach. Jerrold Levinson, 'Intention and Interpretation in Literature', The Pleasures of Aesthetics: Philosophical Essays (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996), 175–213. Revised version of 'Intention and Interpretation: A Last Look', Intention and Interpretation , ed. Gary Iseminger (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1992), 221–56. The essay defends a version of hypothetical intentionalism according to which the meaning of a literary work is the meaning that would be attributed to the actual author by members of the ideal audience. Levinson argues that literary works should be treated differently from everyday utterances, since it is a convention of literature that its works are substantially autonomous from their authors. Paisley Livingston, Art and Intention: A Philosophical Study (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2005). Livingston examines competing accounts of the nature of intentions as they pertain to a variety of issues in the philosophy of art, including the ontology of art, the nature of authorship, and art interpretation. In chapter 6, Livingston argues for partial intentionalism, according to which some, but not all, of a work's meanings are non-redundantly determined by the author's intentions. Stephen Davies, 'Authors' Intentions, Literary Interpretation, and Literary Value', British Journal of Aesthetics 46 (2006): 223–47. Davies defends the value-maximizing view, according to which, when there is more than one conventional meaning consistent with the work's features, the meaning that should be attributed to the work is the one that makes the work out to be most aesthetically valuable. He allows for the attribution of multiple meanings when more than one candidate (approximately) maximizes the work's value. Online Materials: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/beardsley-aesthetics/ Beardsley's Aesthetics (Michael Wreen) http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/conceptual-art/ Conceptual Art (Elisabeth Schellekens) http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/speech-acts/ Speech Acts (Mitchell Green) http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hermeneutics/ Hermeneutics (Bjørn Ramberg and Kristin Gjesdal) Sample Syllabus: Week 1: Foundations 1. Wimsatt and Beardsley, 'The Intentional Fallacy'. 2. Livingston, 'What Are Intentions?', Art and Intention , 1–30. Weeks 2–3: Actual Intentionalism 1. Hirsch, Validity in Interpretation , ch. 1–2, 1–67. 2. Gary Iseminger, 'An Intentional Demonstration?', Intention and Interpretation , ed. Iseminger, 76–96. Optional reading: 1. Stephen Knapp and Walter Benn Michaels, 'Against Theory', Critical Inquiry 8 (1982): 723–742. 2. Stephen Knapp and Walter Benn Michaels, 'Against Theory 2: Hermeneutics and Deconstruction', Critical Inquiry 14 (1987): 49–58. Weeks 4–5: Modest, Moderate and Partial Intentionalism 1. Carroll, 'Art, Intention, and Conversation'. 2. Robert Stecker, Interpretation and Construction: Art, Speech, and the Law (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2003), ch. 2, 29–51. 3. Livingston, 'Intention and the Interpretation of Art', Art and Intention , 135–74. Optional reading: 1. Carroll, 'Interpretation and Intention: The Debate between Hypothetical and Actual Intentionalism', Metaphilosophy 31 (2000): 75–95. 2. Stecker, 'Moderate Actual Intentionalism Defended', Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 64 (2006): 429–38. Weeks 6–7: Hypothetical Intentionalism 1. William E. Tolhurst, 'On What a Text Is and How It Means', British Journal of Aesthetics 19 (1979): 3–14. 2. Nehamas, 'Postulated Author'. 3. Levinson, 'Intention and Interpretation in Literature'. Optional reading: 1. Nehamas, 'What an Author Is', Journal of Philosophy 83 (1986): 685–91. 2. Nehamas, 'Writer, Text, Work, Author', Literature and the Question of Philosophy , ed. A. J. Cascardi (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987), 265–91. 3. Levinson, 'Hypothetical Intentionalism: Statement, Objections, and Replies', Is There a Single Right Interpretation? , ed. M. Krausz (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002), 309–18. Week 8: The Value-Maximizing View 1. Davies, 'The Aesthetic Relevance of Authors' and Painters' Intentions', Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 41 (1982): 65–76. 2. Davies, 'Authors' Intentions, Literary Interpretation, and Literary Value'. Weeks 9–10: Anti-Intentionalism 1. Beardsley, 'The Authority of the Text,' The Possibility of Criticism (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1970), 16–37. 2. Nathan, 'Irony, Metaphor, and the Problem of Intention'. 3. Nathan, 'Art, Meaning, and Artist's Meaning', Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art , ed. M. Kieran (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006), 282–95. Optional reading: 1. Beardsley, 'Intentions and Interpretations: A Fallacy Revived', The Aesthetic Point of View: Selected Essays , ed. M. J. Wreen and D. M. Callen (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1982), 188–207. 2. Nathan, 'Irony and the Author's Intentions', British Journal of Aesthetics 22 (1982): 246–56. Sample Mini-Syllabus: Week 1: Foundations 1. Wimsatt and Beardsley, 'The Intentional Fallacy'. 2. Livingston, 'What Are Intentions?', Art and Intention , 1–30. Week 2: Actual and Modest Intentionalism 1. Hirsch, Validity in Interpretation , ch. 1–2, 1–67. 2. Carroll, 'Art, Intention, and Conversation'. Week 3: Hypothetical Intentionalism and Anti-Intentionalism 1. Levinson, 'Intention and Interpretation in Literature'. 2. Nathan, 'Irony, Metaphor, and the Problem of Intention'. Focus Questions 1. Is the difficulty of ascertaining the author's intentions a good reason to reject actual intentionalism? 2. Should literary works be seen as largely autonomous from their authors, even if we think that interpretation of ordinary utterances is properly a matter of ascertaining the speaker's intentions? 3. Are linguistic context and convention sufficient to determine the meaning of a literary work, or is the author's intention required to stave off an unacceptable degree of ambiguity? 4. Should the author's intentions about the genre or category to which the work belongs have a different status than intentions about the work's meaning? 5. Can the author's intentions have a non-redundant role to play in fixing meaning even if we take the role of context and linguistic convention seriously? 6. Should we expect the author's intention to play the same role (if any) in the interpretation of visual artworks that it plays in the interpretation of literature, or do differences between these two art forms require distinct approaches? (shrink)
This article explores and defends some of f r leavis's ideas about the nature of reasoning in literary criticism. In particular, It examines leavis's contention that the validity of literary criticism does not wait upon a theoretical defence of its canons of judgments of standards. It aims to show that this eschewal of theoretical thought is rationally justifiable and that the form of reasoning leavis advocates for literary criticism has respectable parallels elsewhere, Not least in philosophy itself. (...) Throughout, Reference is made to the work of wittgenstein and john wisdom for elucidation and justification of leavis's point of view. (shrink)
As Lamarque agrees, to read philosophy is to read for truth, so if literary fiction non-accidentally conveys philosophical claims, Lamarque's anti-cognitivist position on it must be flawed. Deploying Iris Murdoch's notion of the ‘work’ an author does in a text, I try to expand what should be understood by an argument in this context, and thus address Lamarque's argument that literary fiction cannot non-accidentally convey philosophical claims because it typically contains no arguments. The main literary example is (...) George Eliot's Felix Holt ; special reference is made to the idea of an author's complicity with the reader. (shrink)
Against the consensus that Aristotle in the "Poetics" sets out to give tragedy a role in exercising or improving the mature citizen's moral sensibilities, I argue that his aim is rather to analyse what makes a work of literature successful in its own terms, and in particular how a tragic drama can achieve the effect of suspense. The proper pleasure of tragedy is produced by the plotting and eventual dispelling of the play's suspense. Aristotle claims that poetry 'says what is (...) universal' not in order to suggest that poetry achieves anything of the effect of philosophy, but to explain how in creating his plots the poet takes into consideration what, in general, could be expected to happen. Chapter 4 of the "Poetics" is not a theory of mimesis but an analysis of the lowest common denominator of the pleasure we take in fictions. The inevitability or likelihood by which events in the tragic plot are to be connected has an aesthetic rather than a moral function. Doing away with the irrationality of chance and increasing the human intelligibility of the action is not its point; the point is to furnish the plot with the second half of the formula for successful suspense: that events in the plot should happen 'against expectation because of one another'. The first half of the formula is examined under the rubric of peripety or reversal. The formula as a whole describes the pivotal moment when the pieces of the plot suddenly fit with a configuration that only in retrospect can we see to have been falling into place all along. Pity and fear are the emotions on which Aristotle focusses because they are the emotions engaged by the tightening-towards-release of literary suspense. And the pleasure of catharsis is the pleasure of that release. (shrink)
In this study, Levin explores Plato's engagement with the Greek literary tradition in his treatment of key linguistic issues. This investigation, conjoined with a new interpretation of the Republic's familiar critique of poets, supports the view that Plato's work represents a valuable precedent for contemporary reflections on ways in which philosophy might benefit from appeals to literature.
Drawing on research in narrative theory and literary aesthetics, text and discourse processing, phenomenology and the experimental cognitive sciences, this paper outlines an embodied theory of presence (i.e., the reader's sense of having entered a tangible environment) in the reading of literary narrative. Contrary to common assumptions, it is argued that there is no straightforward relation between the degree of detail in spatial description on one hand, and the vividness of spatial imagery and presence on the other. It (...) is also argued that presence arises from a first-person, enactive process of sensorimotor simulation/resonance, rather than from mere visualizing from the perspective of a passive, third-person observer. In sections 1 to 3, an inter-theoretical argument is presented, proposing that presence may be effectively cued by explicit (or strongly implied) references to object-directed bodily movement. In section 4, an attempt is made at explaining which ways of embedding such references in the narrative may be particularly productive at eliciting presence. (shrink)
During the last decades, there has been a debate on the question whether literary works are utterances, or have utterance meaning, and whether it is reasonable to approach them as such. Proponents of the utterance model in literary interpretation, whom I will refer to as ‘utterance theorists,’ such as Noël Carroll and especially Robert Stecker, suggest that because of their nature as linguistic products of intentional human action, literary works are utterances similar to those used in everyday (...) discourse. Conversely, those whom I will refer to as ‘appreciation theorists,’ such as Stein Haugom Olsen and Peter Lamarque, argue that literary works are by no means comparable to conversational utterances, and treating them in terms of utterances mistakenly dismisses their literary features. -/- The aim of this essay is twofold: to defend a central aspect of the utterance theory and to reconcile the two main positions about central issues in the debate on the meaning of literary works. On the one hand, I shall argue that it is both legitimate and reasonable to discuss the utterance meaning of a literary work on the basis of an interpretative approach interested in the author’s “message.” My aim is to show that literary works should be considered utterances in a conversational approach which aims at examining the illocutionary actions conveyed through the work. On the other hand, I attempt to show both that there are various legitimate interpretative approaches which are governed by the interpreter’s purposes and to suggest that the debate between utterance theorists and appreciation theorists is actually about merely different emphases. (shrink)
Ostensibly, A Literary Review is a straightforward commentary by Søren Kierkegaard on the work of a contemporary novelist. On deeper levels, however, it becomes the existential philosopher's far-reaching critique of his society and age, and its apocalyptic final sections inspired the central ideas in Martin Heiddeger's influential work Being and Time . Embraced by many readers as prophetic, A Literary Review and its concepts remain relevant to our current debates on identity, addiction, and social conformity.
The essays in this collection are concerned with the philosophical problems that arise in connection with the understanding and evaluation of literature - such problems as the relationship between the work and the author (authorial intention), between the work and the world (reference and truth), the definition of a literary work, and the nature of literary theory itself. Professor Olsen attacks many of the orthodoxies of modern literary theory, in particular the enterprise to build a comprehensive systematic (...)literary theory. His own work is informed by a consistent perspective: the assumption that literature is a social institution governed by conventions, and that answers to problems of interpretation and appreciation can be found only through an analysis of these conventions. This is an important book for scholars and students of literary theory and philosophy, especially for those who see an ever-increasing cross-fertilization between the two disciplines. (shrink)
From Romanticism to Critical Theory explores the philosophical roots of literary theory through the traditions of German philosophy that started with the Romantic reactions to Kant. Andrew Bowie traces the continuation of the Romantic tradition, culminating in Heidegger's approaches to art and truth, the work of Adorno and Benjamin and the Frankfurt School's Critical Theory.
In this paper, my aim is to show that in Anglo-American analytic aesthetics, the conception of narrative fiction is in general realistic and that it derives from philosophical theories of fiction-making, the act of producing works of literary narrative fiction. I shall firstly broadly show the origins of the problem and illustrate how the so-called realistic fallacy – the view which maintains that fictions consist of propositions which represent the fictional world “as it is” – is committed through the (...) history of philosophical approaches to literature in the analytic tradition. Secondly, I shall show how the fallacy that derives from the 20th Century philosophy of language manifests itself in contemporary analytic aesthetics, using Peter Lamarque and Stein Haugom Olsen’s influential and well-known Gricean make-believe theory of fiction as an example. Finally, I shall sketch how the prevailing Gricean make-believe theories should be modified in order to reach the literary-fictive use of language and to cover fictions broader than Doyle’s stories and works alike. (shrink)
criticism defend the idea that an individual reader's understanding of a text can be a factor in determining the meaning of what is written in that text, and hence must play a part in determining the very identity conditions of works of literary art. We examine some accounts that have been given of the type of readerly ‘competence’ that a reader must have in order for her responses to a text to play this sort of constitutive role. We argue (...) that the analogy drawn by Stanley Fish and Jonathan Culler between literary and linguistic competence is philosophically flawed and explanatorily unfruitful, and that a better way of understanding the notion of literary competence can be constructed by appeal to some limitation results in formal logic and computability theory. (shrink)
Introduction: Fielding Derrida -- Jacques Derrida's early writings : alongside skepticism, phenomenology -- Analytic philosophy, and literary criticism -- Deconstruction as skepticism -- Derrida, Husserl, and the commentators : a developmental approach -- A transcendental sense of death : Derrida and the philosophy of language -- Literary theory's languages : the deconstruction of sense vs. the deconstruction of reference -- Jacques Derrida and the problem of philosophical and political modernity -- Jacob Klein and Jacques Derrida : the problem (...) of modernity -- Jacob Klein and Jacques Derrida : historicism and history in two interpretations of Husserl's late writings -- Derrida's contribution to phenomenology : a problem of no species -- Foretellese : futures of Derrida and Marx. (shrink)
In the analytic philosophy of literature, a common objection to the cognitive value of literary narrative fiction has been that literary works do not argue for the genuine truths they may contain. The argument maintains that although literary works could make or imply humanly interesting truth-claims, the works do not reason or justify the claims and thus they do not make significant contributions to knowledge. In this paper, I shall argue that literary works have distinct cognitive (...) significance in changing their readers’ beliefs. In particular, I shall discuss so-called philosophical fictions and truth-claims (thematic statements considered as authorial assertions) they may imply. Leaning broadly on Aristotle’s view of the enthymeme, I shall argue that a work of literary fiction persuades readers of its truths by its dramatic structure, by illustrating or implying the suppressed conclusion (or other parts missing in the argument). Further, I shall suggest that it is exactly this ‘literary persuasion’ which distinguishes literary works from merely didactic works prone to overt “argumentation” and instruction. (shrink)
The writings of Ernst Bloch represent one of the lasting linguistic and intellectual achievements of expressionism. What distinguishes Bloch from other expressionists is that he lived long enough to form the impulses of the expressionist break-through into an oeuvre that grew in depth and mastery across half a century. This collection, which dates from 1913 to 1964, represents a field of experiment in which a thinker of astonishing originality exposes his own thought to the provocation of literary, musical, and (...) artistic works, but also to such quasi-artistic phenomena as advertisements, landscapes, cliche;s and obsessive images, films, and forms of interaction in country and city: why does water emerging from a spring so fascinate the human imagination? What is the function of musical accompaniment in a silent film? How does a writer's birthplace imprint itself on his intellect? (shrink)
The division of literature by language and nation has become so common that it seems to be obvious and natural. But it is not so, and moreover this not even a very old practice. But the national literary histories, apart from their political-cultural aims, are without justification since the history of literature in its themes, subjects and forms has rarely been confined to one nation. Quite large cultural areas exist, bound by space and time, in which literary phenomena (...) are inextricably linked. This essay therefore proposes a coherent and unified treatment of the literary traditions of Eastern and Western Europe. (shrink)
Philosophers have long disagreed about whether poetry, drama, and other literary arts are important to philosophy and among those who believe that they are important, explanations of that importance have differed greatly. This paper aims to explain and illustrate some of the reasons why Hume found literature to be an important topic for philosophy and philosophers. Philosophy, he holds, can help to explain general and specific literary phenomena, to ground the science of criticism, and to suggest and justify (...) "principles of art," while at the same time literature can provide valuable "experiments" for philosophical theorizing and provide it with a model for the science of morals and (in some ways) for philosophy itself. Moreover, the literary arts can not only help one to write better philosophy, in Hume's view they can also help one to write philosophy better. (shrink)
We usually consider literary thinking to be peripheral and dispensable, an activity for specialists: poets, prophets, lunatics, and babysitters. Certainly we do not think it is the basis of the mind. We think of stories and parables from Aesop's Fables or The Thousand and One Nights, for example, as exotic tales set in strange lands, with spectacular images, talking animals, and fantastic plots--wonderful entertainments, often insightful, but well removed from logic and science, and entirely foreign to the world of (...) everyday thought. But Mark Turner argues that this common wisdom is wrong. The literary mind--the mind of stories and parables--is not peripheral but basic to thought. Story is the central principle of our experience and knowledge. Parable--the projection of story to give meaning to new encounters--is the indispensable tool of everyday reason. Literary thought makes everyday thought possible. This book makes the revolutionary claim that the basic issue for cognitive science is the nature of literary thinking. In The Literary Mind, Turner ranges from the tools of modern linguistics, to the recent work of neuroscientists such as Antonio Damasio and Gerald Edelman, to literary masterpieces by Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, and Proust, as he explains how story and projection--and their powerful combination in parable--are fundamental to everyday thought. In simple and traditional English, he reveals how we use parable to understand space and time, to grasp what it means to be located in space and time, and to conceive of ourselves, other selves, other lives, and other viewpoints. He explains the role of parable in reasoning, in categorizing, and in solving problems. He develops a powerful model of conceptual construction and, in a far-reaching final chapter, extends it to a new conception of the origin of language that contradicts proposals by such thinkers as Noam Chomsky and Steven Pinker. Turner argues that story, projection, and parable precede grammar, that language follows from these mental capacities as a consequence. Language, he concludes, is the child of the literary mind. Offering major revisions to our understanding of thought, conceptual activity, and the origin and nature of language, The Literary Mind presents a unified theory of central problems in cognitive science, linguistics, neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy. It gives new and unexpected answers to classic questions about knowledge, creativity, understanding, reason, and invention. (shrink)
Ecofeminism, a new vein in feminist theory, critiques the ontology of domination, whereby living beings are reduced to the status of objects, which diminishes their moral significance, enabling their exploitation, abuse, and destruction. This article explores the possibility of an ecofeminist literary and cultural practice, whereby the text is not reduced to an "it" but rather recognized as a "thou," and where new modes of relationship-dialogue, conversation, and meditative attentiveness-are developed.