Literature, Ethics, and the Emotions

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Cambridge University Press, Apr 3, 2017 - Literary Criticism - 194 pages
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Recently there has been a renewed interest in the ethical value of literature. However, how exactly does literature contribute to our ethical understanding? In Literature, Ethics, and the Emotions, Kenneth Asher argues that literary scholars should locate this question in the long and various history of moral philosophy. On the basis of his own reading of this history, Asher contends for the centrality of emotions in our ethical lives and shows how literature - novels, poetry, and drama - can each contribute to crucial emotional understanding. Individual chapters on T. S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, and George Bernard Shaw give detailed analyses of how this contribution takes shape even in modernist authors who try to reconfigure the very nature of the self.
 

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Contents

Literature as the Recalibration of Emotions
14
T S Eliots Emotive Theory of Poetry
50
Epistemology and Ethics in Virginia Woolf
111
History as Cosmic Comedy
144
Conclusion
175
Index
181
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About the author (2017)

Kenneth Asher holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Currently he is Professor of English and Philosophy at the State University of New York, Geneseo where he serves as Chairman of the Humanities Committee. He has also taught at Stanford University, California and the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is the author of T. S. Eliot and Ideology (Cambridge, 1995).

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