Aesthetics and Literature

Overview

Aesthetic and Literature places philosophical aesthetics at the heart of thinking about literature. The book takes concrete examples from the traditional and contemporary literary arts and uses them to introduce all the central philosophical issues in literature. David Davies considers, with stimulating insight and great clarity, the nature of literature and fiction, artistic uses of language, and the nature of fictional characters. He goes on to explore our emotional responses to literature, the cognitive value ...
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Overview

Aesthetic and Literature places philosophical aesthetics at the heart of thinking about literature. The book takes concrete examples from the traditional and contemporary literary arts and uses them to introduce all the central philosophical issues in literature. David Davies considers, with stimulating insight and great clarity, the nature of literature and fiction, artistic uses of language, and the nature of fictional characters. He goes on to explore our emotional responses to literature, the cognitive value and ethical values of literature, and the accountability of the literary arts.

The book offers a clear, non-technical analysis of each key issue, its broader significance and the principal positions that philosophers have taken on it. Davies presents the relevant philosophical background in a manner that is accessible to philosophy students and lay readers alike. Anyone interested in the philosophy of literature will find this book a rich source of ideas, insight and information. Combining a clear and engaging style with a sophisticated treatment of a fascinating subject, Aesthetics and Literature is a valuable contribution to contemporary aesthetics.

About the Author:
David Davies is Professor of Philosophy at McGill University, Canada

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826496119
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 8/19/2007
  • Series: Continuum Aesthetics Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

David Davies is Professor of Philosophy at McGill University, Canada. His previous publications include Art as Performance (Blackwell, 2003).

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Table of Contents


Preface     vii
The nature of literature     1
What is a literary work?     17
The ontological issue     17
Textualism     19
Contextualism critiques of textualism     23
The nature of fiction     32
Stylistic and semantic conceptions of fiction     33
Functional theories of fiction     36
True fictions     43
Reading fiction (1): Truth in a story     49
Constraints on a theory of truth in fiction     50
'Possible worlds' analyses of truth in fiction     58
Fictional truth and fictional authors     64
Reading fiction (2): Interpreting literary works     70
Interpretation and the 'intentional fallacy'     70
'Actual intentionalist' theories of interpretation     76
'Uptake' theories of interpretation     84
Interpretative pluralism and interpretative monism     92
The nature of fictional characters     98
Philosophical problems with fictional characters     98
'Meinongian' solutions     101
'Russellian' solutions     106
Alternative strategies     113
Literature and the emotions     120
The 'paradox offiction'     121
The 'paradox of tragedy' and the 'paradox of horror'     132
The cognitive value of literature     142
Literary cognitivism     142
The epistemological challenge to literary cognitivism     147
Fictional narratives and thought experiments     157
Literature, morality, and society     164
The moral value of literature     165
Ethical value and artistic value     170
The accountability of literature     182
Notes     189
Bibliography     200
Index     207
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