What Can Literature Do?

Abstract

In this article de Beauvoir defends a conception of literature as a kind of unveiling of something that exists outside itself, a mode of action which reveals certain truths about the world. What we call “literature” is eminently capable of grasping the world—a world which de Beauvoir, following Jean-Paul Sartre, conceives of as a “detotalized totality”; one that is real and independent of us, which exists for all, but is only graspable through our own projects and our perspectives. Yet far from keeping us stranded within our unique subjectivities, literature restores to subjective experience its generality; it allows other to “taste” the world as it exists for others. We can communicate through literature because in it our world, our languages, and our projects overlap. Ultimately, for de Beauvoir, literature is what allows us to see the world as others see it—all the while remaining, irreducibly, ourselves.

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,766

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2020-12-22

Downloads
14 (#738,599)

6 months
4 (#162,711)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Not Just Free but Flesh: Simone de Beauvoir's Existentialist Approach to Sade's Life and Work.Lode Lauwaert - 2014 - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 45 (2):162-174.
Merleau-Ponty on Beauvoir’s Literary-Philosophical Method.Edward Fullbrook & Kate Fullbrook - 1998 - The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 21:6-12.
Introduction: On the Ground of Ethical Criticism.Garry L. Hagberg - 2015 - Philosophy and Literature 39 (1A):v-vi.
The Second Sex as Appeal.Christine Daigle - 2014 - philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism 4 (2):197-220.
La ambigua escritura de Simone de Beauvoir.Olga Grau - 2013 - Revista de filosofía (Chile) 69:151-167.
“Inner Speech” as a Space of Inter-Subjectivity.Erika Ruonakoski - 2018 - Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy 39:95-99.
The Reinvention of the Couple.Kristeva Julia - 2007 - Diogenes 54 (4):29-34.
The Reinvention of the Couple.Julia Kristeva - 2007 - Diogenes 54 (4):29-34.