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The Moral of the Story: Literature and Public Ethics

Overview

The contributors to The Moral of the Story, all preeminent political theorists, are unified by their concern with the instructive power of great literature. This thought-provoking combination of essays explores the polyvalent moral and political impact of classic world literatures on public ethics through the study of some of its major figures-including Shakespeare, Dante, Cervantes, Jane Austen, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, Robert Penn Warren, and Dostoevsky. Positing the uniqueness of literature's ability to ...

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Overview

The contributors to The Moral of the Story, all preeminent political theorists, are unified by their concern with the instructive power of great literature. This thought-provoking combination of essays explores the polyvalent moral and political impact of classic world literatures on public ethics through the study of some of its major figures-including Shakespeare, Dante, Cervantes, Jane Austen, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, Robert Penn Warren, and Dostoevsky. Positing the uniqueness of literature's ability to promote dialogue on salient moral and intellectual virtues, editor Henry T. Edmonson III has culled together a wide-ranging exploration of such fundamental concerns as the abuse of authority, the nature of good leadership, the significance of 'middle class virtues' and the needs of adolescents. This collection reinvigorates the study of classic literature as an endeavor that is not only personally intellectually satisfying, but also an inimitable and unique way to enrich public discourse.

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Editorial Reviews

American Political Science Review
[A] noteworthy addition to the growing literature on the relationship between art and politics.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739101490
  • Publisher: Lexington Books
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Series: Applications of Political Theory Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 272
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.68 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Henry T. Edmondson III is Professor in the Department of Government at Georgia College & State University.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: Literature and Public Ethics Chapter 2 Henry James' The Princess Casamassima:Revolution and the Preservation of Culture Chapter 3 Love, Law, and Rhetoric: The Teachings of Francesca in Dante's Inferno Chapter 4 Aliens Are Us? Walker Percy's Response to Carl Sagan on Wandering and Wondering Chapter 5 Shakespeare's Henry V and the Act of Ethical Reflection Chapter 6 Rabelais and Pascal: Wise Kings and Anguished Men Chapter 7 Chinua Achebe and the Nature of Social Change Chapter 8 A Place in the World: Delinquency and the Search for Liberty in Cervantes' Rinconete and Cortadillo Chapter 9 The Great-Souled Woman: Jane Austen as Public Moralist Chapter 10 True and False Liberalism: Stolypin and His Enemies in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's August 1914 Chapter 11 The Alchemy of Power and Idealism: Dostoevsky's "Grand Inquisitor" Chapter 12 Democratic Envy in Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen HereI Chapter 13 Natural Right, Conventional Right, and Setting Things Aright: Joseph Conrad's The Secret Sharer Chapter 14 The Beauty of Middle-Class Virtue: Willa Cather's O Pioneers Chapter 15 Robert Penn Warren's Brother to Dragons: Complicity and the Beginning of Innocence Chapter 16 Fatherhood and Friendship in the Modern Regime: Jean Dutourd's The Springtime of Life Chapter 17 Mark Twain on Democratic Statesmanship: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court Chapter 18 Pagan Virtue and Christian Charity: Flannery O'Connor on the Moral Contradictions of Western Culture

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