Download e-book for kindle: Ethics, Theory and the Novel by David Parker

By David Parker

ISBN-10: 052145283X

ISBN-13: 9780521452830

The digital suppression of moral and evaluative discourse through present literary thought might be noticeable because the triumph of 1 post-Enlightenment culture over others important to an entire account of humanity and literary price. In Ethics, idea and the unconventional David Parker indicates that present silences approximately ethics are as harmful because the previous political silences of Leavisism and New feedback. He is going directly to learn Middlemarch, Anna Karenina, and novels by way of D.H. Lawrence, exploring the implications for significant literary works of the suppression of moral traditions.

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This tendency to be blind to the signs in ourselves of the very failings we see in others I am calling the 'judgmental unconscious ' . The term ' Pharisee ' should remind u s that one classic source of thought about the judgmental unconscious is the New Testa­ ment, which is never far from the moral thinking of such novels as Middlemarch, Anna Karenina, and Lady Chatterley's Lover. Most relevant of all to these novels is the story of the woman taken in adultery. 43 44 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

At this point, the humanist will often turn to what seems to be more solid ground, the so-called test of time : the great texts are great because they have endured. I t is the endurance of Homer, Shake­ speare, Mozart, and Leonardo da Vinci over the centuries which shows that their work exemplifies important and timeless values. After all, if they did not keep on offering us something important, why would we keep on going back to them ? In the most significant book to be published on literary evaluation for many years, Barbara Herrnstein Smith gives this argument impressively searching scru­ tiny, tracing the ways in which, for example, unpalatable aspects of canonical works are successively reinterpreted by humanists and either allegorised or formalised out of harm's way.

In the past fifteen years, the post-structuralists, Marxists, feminists and race-theorists who have made these criticisms have changed the consciousness of most of us, irreversibly, on a whole range of matters, The ethical unconscious including our views of which authors and works matter most and which ethical questions are most worthy of our attention. In other words, whatever account of canonicity or of ethical criticism we now might give will be affected by this recent work. Largely because of it essentialist justifications of value no longer seem to stand up to serious scrutiny.

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Ethics, Theory and the Novel by David Parker


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