Literature

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Abstract

Claims about the essence of literature have not always been motivated by the goal of identifying the proper object of a field of scientific research. Sometimes the point has been to denounce literature as a source of mimetic corruption and deceit. More frequently, great moral or epistemic value has been attributed to literature, where what is really meant is ‘literature at its best’. One example — among hundreds — is Maurice Blanchot's characterization of literature as a sceptical process crucial to a kind of existential authenticity. A plausible complaint about such theorizings is that they overlook the importance of recognizing the existence of bad literature, and of good literature that happens to lack those virtues the theorist cares to promote.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford handbook of aesthetics
EditorsJerrold LEVINSON
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages536-554
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780199279456
ISBN (Print)9780198250258
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005

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