By Andrew Mousley (editor)

ISBN-10: 0230238157

ISBN-13: 9780230238152

Literature cultivates "deep selves" for whom books subject simply because they take over from faith basic questions about the which means of lifestyles. This quantity embraces and questions this attitude, whereas additionally constructing a "new humanist' serious vocabulary which specifies, and hence opens to discuss, the human importance of literature.

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Extra resources for Towards a New Literary Humanism

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Far more often, Brontë mourns the utter severance of inner and outer worlds, and her failure to appropriate the religious reality in which she believes. She uses the language of sin and guilt to describe this predicament, as if the problem is a moral one, but what she essentially bewails is a failure of feeling: I have gone backward in the work, The labour has not sped, Drowsy and dark my spirit lies, Heavy and dull as lead. How can I rouse my sinking soul From such a lethargy? 34 Towards a New Literary Humanism How can I break these iron chains, And set my spirit free?

Books come to matter intensely to ‘selves’ (and are treated as lifelong sources of guidance, inspiration or provocation) because it is through books that we attempt to work out fundamental questions about who we are and what the significance of life might be. To put it summarily, literature as surrogate theology engages us in deep and complex soul-searching. An important aspect of literature’s cultivation of ‘deep selves’ is its ability to expand our cognitive, emotional and psychological repertoires (see Styler and Martin, below), and, as an important adjunct to this emerging from contemporary criticism and theory, our political and ethical imaginations (see Graham and Arteel).

Sympathy might involve something like wonder, which unsettles the idea of an autonomous human self, suggesting something at odds with liberal humanism (see Ratcliffe 2008, 18–19). Because Woolf’s sense of feeling as shown in her St Ives description suggests transcendence but also dwells on the sensory, her work reveals an added complexity in thinking about emotion. One of the acknowledged complications in Nussbaum’s argument is the possibility of a wondrous element to emotion, but another is her treatment of the body.

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Towards a New Literary Humanism by Andrew Mousley (editor)


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