Numinous spaces in British literature from William Wordsworth to Samuel Beckett -- Jesus figures in American literature from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Edward Albee -- Using Bakhtin's definitions to discover ethical voices in Solzhenitsyn and Tolstoy -- René Girard's categories of scapegoats in literature of the American South -- Hopkins's metaphysics of nature as sacred disclosure -- The book of job as mirrored in Hopkins's metaphysics -- Beckett's mythos of the absence of God.
Machine generated contents note: Introduction: love after Aristotle; 1. Enjoyment: a medieval history; 2. Narcissus after Aristotle: love and ethics in Le Roman de la Rose; 3. Metamorphoses of pleasure in the fourteenth century Dit Amoureux; 4. Love's knowledge: fabliau, allegory, and fourteenth-century anti-intellectualism; 5. On human happiness: Dante, Chaucer, and the felicity of friendship; Coda: Chaucer's philosophical women.
Figuring Animals is a collection of fifteen essays concerning the representation of animals in literature, the visual arts, philosophy, and cultural practice. At the turn of the new century, it is helpful to reconsider our inherited understandings of the species, some of which are still useful to us. It is also important to look ahead to new understandings and new dialogue, which may contribute to the survival of us all. The contributors to this volume participate in this dialogue in (...) a variety of ways--through personal experience, natural history, cultural studies, philosophical inquiry, art history, literary analysis, film studies, and theoretical imagining, and through a combination of these trains of thought. The essays expose weaknesses in western epistemological frames of reference that for centuries have limited our views and, thus, our experiences of animal being, including our own. (shrink)
The book is about three things. First, how Ancient thinkers perceived humans as like or unlike other animals; second about the justification for taking a humane attitude towards natural things; and third about how moral claims count as true, and how they can be discovered or acquired. Was Aristotle was right to see continuity in the psychological functions of animal and human souls? The question cannot be settled without taking a moral stance. As we can either focus on continuity or (...) on discontinuities, how should natural science draw the boundaries? Moral agents act and react in a world that they see under a certain description, and there is no value free science that can settle what is the correct description. This book asks us to think about where moral justification could come from, and suggests that the supposed ‘moral status’ of the object cannot provide the answer. For the moral status of the object is a product of our own imagination, and once we see that, we also see that there remains the question where we ought to have the will to see it. Furthermore, since the perception of moral truth involves the development of imagination and will, the means to attain it will be better served by engagement with poetry and literature than with enquiries that seek to exclude the engagement of the imagination, or any appeal to the beauty of nature or the love of one's fellow creatures. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Acknowledgments; Introduction: scales of identification; 1. Democratic expansionism, gothic geographies, and Charles Brockden Brown; 2. Urban apartments, global cities: the enlargement of private space in Poe and James; 3. Cultural orphans: domesticity, missionaries, and China from Stowe to Sui Sin Far; 4. 'The Checkered Globe': cosmopolitan despair in the American Pacific; 5. Literature and regional production; Epilogue: scales of resistance.
How do the arts give us pleasure? Covering a very wide range of artistic works, from Auden to David Lynch, Rembrandt to Edward Weston, and Richard Strauss to Keith Jarrett, Pleasure and the Arts offers us an explanation of our enjoyable emotional engagements with literature, music, and painting. The arts direct us to intimate and particularized relationships, with the people represented in the works, or with those we imagine produced them. When we listen to music, look at (...) a purely abstract painting, or drink a glass of wine, can we enjoy the experience without verbalizing our response? Do our interpretative assumptions, our awareness of technique, and our attitudes to fantasy, get in the way of our appreciation of art, or enhance it? Examining these questions and more, we discover how curiosity drives us to enjoy narratives, ordinary jokes, metaphors, and modernist epiphanies, and how narrative in all the arts can order and provoke intense enjoyment. Pleasurable in its own right, Pleasure and the Arts presents a sparkling explanation of the enduring interest of artistic expression. (shrink)
Robert Abrams argues that new concepts of space and landscape emerged in mid-nineteenth-century American writing, marking a linguistic and interpretative limit to American expansion. Abrams supports the radical elements of antebellum writing, where writers from Hawthorne to Rebecca Harding Davis disputed the naturalizing discourses of mid-nineteenth century society. Whereas previous critics find in antebellum writing a desire to convert chaos into an affirmative, liberal agenda, Abrams contends that authors of the 1840s and 50s deconstructed more than they constructed.
While individuals presented in central texts of the period are indeed often alone or separated from others, Yousef regards this isolation as a problem the texts attempt to illuminate, rather than a condition they construct as normative or ...
This paper examines the complexity and fluidity of maternal identity through an examination of narratives about "real motherhood" found in children's literature. Focusing on the multiplicity of mothers in adoption, I question standard views of maternity in which gestational, genetic and social mothering all coincide in a single person. The shortcomings of traditional notions of motherhood are overcome by developing a fluid and inclusive conception of maternal reality as authored by a child's own perceptions.
Explanatory accounts of emotion require, among other things, theoretically tractable representations of emotional experience. Common methods for producing such representations have well-known drawbacks, such as observer interference or lack of ecological validity. Literature offers a valuable supplement. It provides detailed instructions for simulating emotions; when successful, it induces empathic emotions. It too involves distortions, through emotion-intensifying idealization and ideological biases. But these also relate to emotion study. There are three levels at which literature bears on emotion research: (1) (...) the individual work; (2) generic and related patterns; and (3) properties found widely across individual works and genres. Even at the third, most general level, literature suggests potentially important hypotheses about our pleasure in emotional simulation and our need to share emotional experiences. (shrink)
Applying ideas drawn from contemporary critical theory, this book historicizes psychoanalysis through a new and significant theorization of the Gothic. The central premise is that the nineteenth-century Gothic produced a radical critique of accounts of sublimity and Freudian psychoanalysis. This book makes a major contribution to an understanding of both the nineteenth century and the Gothic discourse which challenged the dominant ideas of that period. Writers explored include Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Bram Stoker.
Introduction -- The muse of paralysis -- Horizon of conquest: Eugene Fromentin's Algerian narratives -- Slow progress: Jean Paulhan and Madagascar -- Frustration: Michel Leiris -- Atopia: Roland Barthes -- The wake of Ulysses.
Is it possible for postmodernism to offer viable, coherent accounts of ethics? Or are our social and intellectual worlds too fragmented for any broad consensus about the moral life? These issues have emerged as some of the most contentious in literary and philosophical studies. In Renegotiating Ethics in Literature, Philosophy, and Theory a distinguished international gathering of philosophers and literary scholars address the reconceptualisations involved in this 'turn towards ethics'. An important feature of this has been a renewed interest (...) in the literary text as a focus for the exploration of ethical issues. Exponents of this trend include Charles Taylor, Bernard Williams, Iris Murdoch, Cora Diamond, Richard Rorty and Martha Nussbaum, the latter a contributor and a key figure in this volume. This book assesses the significance of this development for ethical and literary theory and attempts to articulate an alternative postmodern account of ethics which does not rely on earlier appeals to universal truths. (shrink)
This article examines the controversial issue of blasphemy in literature from the viewpoint of reception inside and outside the academia. The thesis of the article is that blasphemy in literature, though inherently related to religion and language, has a plurality of connotations and interpretations (dissidence, intertextuality, critique of colonialism, discursive strategy, alterity/Otherness, ethnicity, subversive text). Consequently, blasphemy in literature is an incentive for fruitful discussions regarding tolerance, freedom of expression, and the re-situation of the (post)modern self in (...) today’s world, dominated by an uncanny admixture of secular and religious values. (shrink)
It is time to challenge the issue of pleasure associated with the core of medical practice. Its importance is made clear through its opposite: unhappiness—something which affects doctors in a rather worrying way. The paper aims to provide a discussion on pleasure on reliable grounds. Plato’s conception of techne is a convenient model that offers insights into the unique practice of medicine, which embraces in a single purposive action several heterogeneous dimensions. In Aristotle’s Ethics, pleasure appears to (...) play a central role for action’s assessment and intensification. Pleasure is also tightly associated with the Kantian faculty of reflective judgment, which operates at the heart of clinical reasoning. Indeed, practicing medicine means to deal with the particular and the manifold, requiring clinical judgment, but also relying on embodied habitus . With Bourdieu’s notion of habitus , pleasure is the mark of a happy practice, which presupposes a deep involvement in one’s field. Throughout our inquiry, the question of pleasure comes to offer a critical reappraisal of real medical practice and leads to consider ethics more as a component of techne than as a separate realm of concern. (shrink)
In 'Literature Suspends Death: Sacrifice and Storytelling in Kierkegaard, Kafka and Blanchot' Chris Danta takes Genesis 22 as the starting point for an investigation of the role of literary imagination. His aim is to read the Genesis story from a literary-theoretical perspective in order to show how it can ‘illuminate the secular situation of the literary writer.’ To do this, Danta stages a fruitful confrontation between Søren Kierkegaard as defender of religion and inwardness and Franz Kafka and Maurice Blanchot (...) as defenders of literature. In this review, three important points in this confrontation are highlighted. 1. The problem of identification. 2. The moment of substitution. 3. The spectrality of the writer. (shrink)
What is Plato's view of pleasure in his dialogue the Phaedo? He clearly (and famously) rails against bodily pleasures, seeing them as shackles of sorts which prevent the soul from attaining its proper perfection apart from the body, but does he leave room in the carnate life for some other forms of pleasure? These are some of the questions I would like to try to address in this paper. As it turns out, I argue that Plato does indeed (...) recognize other types of pleasure, of the sort which figure as important items of value in the good life. (shrink)
Theories about value struggles with the problem how toaccount for the motivational force inherent to value judgments. Whereasthe exact role of motivation in evaluation is the subject of somecontroversy, it’s arguably a truism that value has something to do withmotivation. In this paper, I suggest that given that the role of motivationin ethical theory is left quite unspecific by the “truisms” or “platitudes”governing evaluative concepts, a scientific understanding of motivationcan provide a rich source of clues for how we might go (...) about developingan empirically responsible theory of value. More specifically, I argue that naturalist hedonists should be eager to join forces with motivational science: the role of pleasure in themotivational system is such that a sound case for hedonism can be builton it. (shrink)
In this paper I present an interpretation of the role of pleasure in Kant’s theory of desire formation. On my reading Kant’s account of how desires are formed does—in spite of what some commentators say—commit him to hedonism. On the face of it, Kant writes of the determination of the faculty of desire in three distinct ways, but I argue that these accounts can be reconciled in a single, more comprehensive (and thoroughly hedonistic) theory. This comprehensive theory has the (...) virtue of complementing and elucidating some of the lesser-known things that Kant has to say on the nature of pleasure in the Critique of Judgment and Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. Introduction; 2. Pleasure in early Greek ethics; 3. Pleasure in the early physical tradition; 4. Plato on pleasure and restoration; 5. Plato on true, untrue and false pleasures; 6. Aristotle on pleasure and activation; 7. Epicurus and the Cyrenaics on katastematic and kinetic pleasures; 8. The Old Stoics on pleasure as passion; 9. Contemporary conceptions of pleasure; 10. Ancient and contemporary conceptions of pleasure; Suggestions for further reading.
Surgeons have often been portrayed in literature on one of two extremes: the cold, distant scientist or the benign, caring humanist. Two characters in American literature who illustrate those extremes, both surgeons in the military, are Herman Melville's Cadwallader Cuticle and Richard Hooker's Hawkeye Pierce. Cuticle is interested only in the science of his craft, while Pierce maintains the compassion so central to the art of healing, even in the midst of war.