Ignorance: literature and agnoiology

Front Cover
Manchester University Press, Jan 15, 2010 - Literary Collections - 260 pages
0 Reviews
"Beginning with the idea that literature tends to be rejected by philosophy on account of its epistemological irresponsibility, Bennett argues that the dominant conception of literature since the Romantic period involves an often unacknowledged engagement with the experience of not knowing. Ignorance is part of the narrative and poetic force of literature and is an important aspect of its thematic focus: ignorance is what literary texts are about. But ignorance also characterises the condition, at some level, of both authorship and reading. From Wordsworth and Keats to George Eliot and Charles Dickens, from Henry James to Joseph Conrad, from Elizabeth Bowen to Philip Roth and Seamus Heaney, writers have been fascinated and compelled by the question of ignorance, induding their own; and the properly informed reader would be one who, at some level, doesn't know how to read. Bennett argues that there is a politics and ethics as well as a poetics of ignorance: literature's agnoiology, its acknowledgement of the limits of what we know both of ourselves and of others, engages with the possibility of democracy and the ethical, and allows us to begin to conceive of what it might mean to be human." --Book Jacket.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Acknowledgements page
Ignorance and philosophy
Literary ignorance

9 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2010)

Andrew Bennett is Professor of English at the University of Bristol.