The Existential Joss Whedon: Evil and Human Freedom in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly and Serenity

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Overview

This study examines the major works of contemporary American television and film screenwriter Joss Whedon. The authors argue that these works are part of an existentialist tradition that stretches back from the French atheistic existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre, through the Danish Christian existentialist Søren Kierkegaard, to the Russian novelist and existentialist Fyodor Dostoevsky. Whedon and Dostoevsky, for example, seem preoccupied with the problem of evil and human freedom. Both argue that in each and every ...
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The Existential Joss Whedon: Evil and Human Freedom in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly and Serenity

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Overview

This study examines the major works of contemporary American television and film screenwriter Joss Whedon. The authors argue that these works are part of an existentialist tradition that stretches back from the French atheistic existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre, through the Danish Christian existentialist Søren Kierkegaard, to the Russian novelist and existentialist Fyodor Dostoevsky. Whedon and Dostoevsky, for example, seem preoccupied with the problem of evil and human freedom. Both argue that in each and every one of us "a demon lies hidden." Whedon personifies these demons and has them wandering about and causing havoc. Dostoevsky treats the subject only slightly more seriously.

Chapters cover such topics as Russian existentialism and vampire slayage; moral choices; ethics; Faith and bad faith; constructing reality through existential choice; some limitations of science and technology; love and self-sacrifice; love, witchcraft, and vengeance; soul mates and moral responsibility; love and moral choice; forms of freedom; and Whedon as moral philosopher.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786427819
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/6/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 204
  • Sales rank: 1,105,480
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

J. Michael Richardson lives in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. J. Douglas Rabb is a professor emeritus of philosophy at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, and an executive member of the Centre for Health Care Ethics, also at Lakehead University.

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Table of Contents


Introduction     1
Russian Existentialism and Vampire Slayage: A Shestovian Key to the Power and Popularity of Buffy the Vampire Slayer     7
Moral Choice in Buffy, Angel and Firefly: Ethics in the Whedonverse     18
Buffy, Faith and Bad Faith: Choosing to Be the Chosen One     26
Slayer Authenticity: Constructing Reality Through Existential Choice     48
Riley and the Initiative: Some Limitations of Science and Technology     63
Darla, Spike, and Xander: Love and Self-Sacrifice     75
Willow and Tara: Love, Witchcraft, and Vengeance     90
Angel and Spike: Soul Mates and Moral Responsibility     106
Angel in Hell: Love and Moral Choice     122
Firefly and Serenity: Two Forms of Freedom     137
Myth, Metaphor, and Morality: Joss Whedon as Moral Philosopher     150
Bibliography     175
Index     193
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