Do the rich descriptions and narrative shapings of literature provide a valuable resource for readers, writers, philosophers, and everyday people to imagine and confront the ultimate questions of life? Do the human activities of storytelling and complex moral decision-making have a deep connection? What are the moral responsibilities of the artist, critic, and reader? What can religious perspectives—from Catholic to Protestant to Mormon—contribute to literary criticism? Thirty well known contributors reflect on these questions, including iterary theorists Marshall Gregory, James Phelan, (...) and Wayne Booth; philosophers Martha Nussbaum, Richard Hart, and Nina Rosenstand; and authors John Updike, Charles Johnson, Flannery O'Connor, and Bernard Malamud. Divided into four sections, with introductory matter and questions for discussion, this accessible anthology represents the most crucial work today exploring the interdisciplinary connections between literature, religion and philosophy. (shrink)
A careful and extensively annotated translation of the Metalogicon, the first to be made into a modern language. The translation, besides being accurate, succeeds in communicating some of the poetic and rhetorical devices used by John of Salisbury in his defense of the study of the Linguistic arts. --R. H.
My title is taken from the frontispiece to Ogilby's translation of Aesop ; since every Renaissance poet believed the statement to be true, let me start with my own example. John Denham's only play, The Sophy, published in August 1642, is a tale about the perils of jealousy. The good prince Mirza, after a miraculous victory over the Turks, returns in glory to his father's court, but leaves it shortly thereafter. In his absense, Haly, the evil courtier, follows a (...) friend's advice to " work on [the king's] fears, till fear hath made him cruel"1 and poisons the king's mind with jealousy against his son. Mirza returns only to be brutally blinded and killed, and the emperor soon dies stricken with remorse. Now it happens that Parliament justified all its actions in the months preceding the civil war on the grounds of the "fears and jealousies" that the king had inspired. Charles was incensed by the slogan and claimed angrily that he, if anyone, had the most cause for fears and jealousies.2 Denham obviously decided that here was the all-consuming topic around which a predominantly royalist drama could be written. He followed what I believe was the standard practice - the method that Fulke Greville said Sidney used and that Congreve repeated at the end of the century when he declared of The Double Dealer that "I design'd the Moral first, and to that Moral I invented the Fable."3 He found a plot in Thomas Herbert's Travels into Diverse Parts of Asia that recorded some terrible cruelties and catastrophes caused by jealousy, and he added the point that the emperor's mind had been wrought upon by his counselor. There is no evidence that the play was ever acted, but the most casual reader would have said to himself, "Yes, history reminds us that states destroy themselves through fears and jealousies, and we should abate our own before it is too late." · 1. Sir John Denham, The Poetical Works, ed. Theodore Howard Banks, 2d ed. , p.245. The references to fear and jealousy are so ubiquitous in the play that they need not be listed here.· 2. On March 1, 1642, in the angriest of his replies to Parliament so far, Charles exclaimed, "You speake of Jealousies and Feares: Lay your hands to your hearts, and aske your selves whether I may not likewise be disturbed with Feares and Jealousies: And if so, I assure you this Message hath nothing lessened them" . Although phrases like "distempers and jealousies" had been used earlier, Clarendon on two occasions is quite specific that "fears and jealousies" were "the new words which served to justify all indispositions and to excuse all disorders" in January 1642 . Taken with other evidence, Clarendon's remarks strongly suggest that The Sophy was written after Coopers Hill, and during seven months preceding its publication in August 1642.· 3. William Congreve, The Complete Plays, ed. Herbert Davis , p. 119. And compare John Donne in Sermons, ed. Evelyn M. Simpson are George R. Potter , 9:274: "All wayes of teaching are Rule and Example: and though ordinarily the Rule be first placed, yet the Rule it selfe is made of Examples...for, Example in matter of Doctrine, is as Assimiliation in matter of Nourishment; The Example makes that that is proposed for our learning and farther instruction, like something which we knew before, as Assimilation makes that meat, which we have received and digested, like those parts which are in our bodies before."John M. Wallace, author of Destiny His Choice: The Loyalism of Andrew Marvell and articles on Milton, Dryden Denham, Traherne, and Arnold, is professor of English at the University of Chicago. (shrink)
Julian H. Franklin, scholar of constitutionalism in the late sixteenth century, has extended his researches into the late seventeenth century with this fine work on Locke and Locke’s immediate sources. Franklin’s book is short, concise, well-focused and carefully argued. It is also thought-provoking to a degree one would not expect from the modesty or historicity of the subject. Controversy over this problem of political rhetoric and science, once heated while lives and fates were involved, is now cold, and the problem (...) no longer seems to be ours. Franklin follows the reasoning of past thinkers and deftly joins in when he can, providing for us an exemplary model of political theory on the quiet: he makes old arguments relevant to us without forcing them and he detaches us from our alleged necessities without resorting to silly hypotheses. (shrink)
The author of this perceptive but sometimes rather obscure study treats a number of the major long works of modern poets as expressions of the common theme of metamorphosis. Not only do the metamorphoses of classical mythology figure prominently in the subject matter of works like The Waste Land and the Cantos, but the notion of metamorphosis has become an important means of conveying the "message" of such works: modern man's "need and desire to transcend the psychologically repressive conditions of (...) his mechanized milieu." Sister Quinn is most clear and convincing when she is interpreting poems as literary creations, less so when she attempts to describe, in philosophical terms, what they mean or express.--L. H. (shrink)
John H. Muse's Microdramas: Crucibles for Theatre and Time examines the production of short plays across the history of Western theatre practice, from the late-nineteenth century to contemporary performance. Categorizing plays shorter than twenty minutes as microdramas, Muse does not insist on a new term for a theatrical subgenre, but provides an ideal working title for the study of brief theatre: a study which, until now, has been largely overlooked in literary theoretical analyses on theatre. Muse shows us how (...) the study of plays by playwrights who consciously choose brevity as a form, provides a platform for examining the evolution of theatre's structural practices. Identifying how short plays expose traditional... (shrink)
(2002). On Being a Bioethicist: A Review of John H. Evans Playing God?: Human Genetic Engineering and the Rationalization of Public Bioethical Debate. The American Journal of Bioethics: Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 65-69.
I review John Hick's "Death and Eternal life," in which he explores philosophical anthropologies invoked by believers in life after death, provides a critical survey of various Christian and Eastern approaches to life after death, and develops various pareschatologies and eschatologies.
The essay attends to a paradox found in some crucial poetic efforts by Wallace Stevens and John Ashbery. In some of their most important poetic works Stevens and Ashbery take on the task of positioning the poem toward the plurality of reality, the plurality that is concentrated in the phenomenon of change. As they do so, they invariably encounter a tension within the poem itself: as the poem merges with the flow of changes in the external world-the physical (...) changes in time and space-it also calls up permanent forms of imaginative purposive capability of attending to change, envisioning it, or, indeed, of installing it. These forms must be more permanent than it is postulated by some theories of the poetics of transitiveness, which are polemically discussed in the text. The tension between the element of change and permanence is what allows the poems of Stevens and Ashbery-each poet finding his own aesthetic and epistemic strategy-to put the poem forward not as an external “representation” of change, but as the very source of the abundant possibilities of producing world descriptions in which the notion of change may be meaningful. Such positioning of the poem is what I am calling “the poetics of plenitude.” This poetic strategy makes the poem an aesthetic counterpart to the epistemic action of developing an inquiry, and I am building a definition of this term by reference to the classical pragmatist theory of inquiry. This move is related to my treating Stevens and Ashbery as the poets belonging to the Emersonian-pragmatist intellectual and aesthetic tradition. The paradoxes of change and permanence discussed in the text are treated as inherent in this tradition. (shrink)