What is the proper role for literature in political thought and analysis? Can reading novels make us better citizens of a liberal democratic society? What is the status of argument and reason in an academy dominated by readings and redescriptions? Simon Stow identifies a potentially detrimental literary turn in the contemporary academy, arguing that the study of literature and the study of politics have become somewhat indistinguishable enterprises. Drawing on the work of Judith Butler, Terry Eagleton, Martha Nussbaum, and Richard Rorty, he examines the problematic claims, circular reasoning, and misplaced assumptions that underpin this disciplinary merging, and seeks to defend political philosophy and social science against the rival claims of literature and literary criticism as sources of political insight and construction.
|Publisher:||State University of New York Press|
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About the Author
Simon Stow is Assistant Professor of Government at the College of William and Mary.
Table of Contents
Arguments and Readings: Philosophy in a Postfoundational World 17
The Literary Turn in Thought and Practice
Martha Nussbaum: Literary Imagination and the Public Life 41
Richard Rorty: Non-Philosopher Kings and the Literary Republic 61
Terry Eagleton: Is There a Class in This Text? Literary Criticism and Social Theory 81
Judith Butler: Politics, Literature, and Radical Democracy 101
The Future of the Literary Turn?
How to Read a Novel in a Democracy: Literature and Public Ethics 121
Beyond the Dolorous Haze: Literature in Political Thought and Analysis 137
Conclusion: The Literary Turn and Contemporary Political Discourse 151