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The Value(s) of Literature

Hans, James S.

ISBN 10: 0791402061 / ISBN 13: 9780791402061
Published by State University New York Press, Ithaca, New York, U.S.A., 1990
New Condition: New Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Value(s) of Literature

Publisher: State University New York Press, Ithaca, New York, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1990

Binding: Soft Cover

Book Condition:New

About this title

Synopsis:

This book addresses the ethical aspects of literature by discussing three major American poets: Walt Whitman, Wallace Stevens, and A. R. Ammons. It develops a philosophical framework by which an ethics of literature can be construed, and differentiates this view from a purely political criticism on the one hand and a purely "disinterested" criticism on the other. Beginning with Nietzsche's assumption that the world itself is an aesthetic place, Hans shows how an ethic is always inevitably implicit in the aesthetic through which a writer constructs his work. At the same time, he argues that this ethic never tells us how to live our lives; it only presents us with a series of constructs through which we can begin to understand the nature of valuing in the everyday world. The book also examines some of the reasons why academics have resisted the ethical aspects of literature, confronting the two major forces in literary criticism today: political writing (chiefly feminist) and post-structuralist (chiefly deconstructionist) writing.

The Value(s) of Literature goes beyond Nietzsche and Derrida's critique of Nietzsche, which does not seriously approach the need for positive evaluation of the world. It is precisely this positive attempt to weigh the value of things anew to which this book is devoted.

About the Author:

James S. Hans is Professor of English at Wake Forest University.

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