Narrative Ethics

Narrative Ethics

by Adam Newton
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674600886

ISBN-13: 9780674600881

Pub. Date: 09/15/1997

Publisher: Harvard University Press

The ethics of literature, formalists have insisted, resides in the moral quality of a character, a story, perhaps the relation between author and reader. But in the wake of deconstruction and various forms of criticism focusing on difference, the ethical question has been freshly negotiated by literary studies, and to this approach Adam Newton brings a startling

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Overview

The ethics of literature, formalists have insisted, resides in the moral quality of a character, a story, perhaps the relation between author and reader. But in the wake of deconstruction and various forms of criticism focusing on difference, the ethical question has been freshly negotiated by literary studies, and to this approach Adam Newton brings a startling new thrust. His book makes a compelling case for understanding narrative as ethics. Assuming an intrinsic and necessary connection between the two, Newton explores the ethical consequences of telling stories and fictionalizing character, and the reciprocal claims binding teller, listener, witness, and reader in the process. He treats these relations as defining properties of prose fiction, of particular import in nineteenth- and twentieth-century texts.

Newton's fresh and nuanced readings cover a wide range of authors and periods, from Charles Dickens to Kazuo Ishiguro and Julian Barnes, from Herman Melville to Richard Wright, from Joseph Conrad and Henry James to Sherwood Anderson and Stephen Crane. An original work of theory as well as a deft critical performance, Narrative Ethics also stakes a claim for itself as moral inquiry. To that end, Newton braids together the ethical-philosophical projects of Emmanuel Levinas, Stanley Cavell, and Mikhail Bakhtin as a kind of chorus for his textual analyses--an elegant bridge between philosophy's ear and literary criticism's voice. His work will generate enormous interest among scholars and students of English and American literature, as well as specialists in narrative and literary theory, hermeneutics, and contemporary philosophy.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674600881
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
09/15/1997
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.73(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Abbreviations

Narrative as Ethics

Toward a Narrative Ethics

We Die in a Last Word: Conrad's Lord Jimand Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio

Lessons of (for) the Master: Short Fiction by Henry James

Creating the Uncreated Features of His Face: Monstration in Crane, Melville, and Wright

Telling Others: Secrecy and Recognition in Dickens, Barnes, and Ishiguro

Conclusion

Notes

Index

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