Literature and Rationality: Ideas of Agency in Theory and Fiction by Paisley LivingstonLiterature and Rationality: Ideas of Agency in Theory and Fiction by Paisley Livingston

Literature and Rationality: Ideas of Agency in Theory and Fiction

byPaisley Livingston

Paperback | June 12, 2008

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This book explores concepts of rationality drawn from philosophy and the social sciences, in relation to traditions of literary enquiry. The author surveys basic assumptions and questions in philosophical accounts of action, in decision theory, and in the theory of rational choice. He gives examples ranging from Icelandic sagas to Poe and Beckett, and examines some situations and actions drawn from American and European fiction in order to analyze issues raised by contemporary models of agency. Challenging poststructuralism's irrationalist images of science, this innovative study crosses the boundary between literary and philosophical studies in a bold interdisciplinary spirit.
Title:Literature and Rationality: Ideas of Agency in Theory and FictionFormat:PaperbackDimensions:268 pages, 8.98 × 5.98 × 0.59 inPublished:June 12, 2008Publisher:Cambridge University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0521064805

ISBN - 13:9780521064804

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Table of Contents

Introduction: literature and rationality; Part I. Theories and Questions: 1. Rationality: some basic issues; 2. Agency, rationality, and literary knowledge; Part II. Textual Models: 3. Naturalism and the question of agency; 4. Agent's rationality; 5. Plans and irrationality; 6. Science, reason and society Coda: 'Der Bau'; Notes; Bibliography.

Editorial Reviews

"This book is a major contribution to the study of literature. It challenges both traditional dogmatic approaches and fashionable post-structuralist views. The alternative it offers is refreshingly constructive and thoroughly innovative....[W]e should be grateful to Livingston for bringing home such precious gifts of information, presented in remarkably lucid language....It is not possible in this short review to do justice to the exceptional richness of Livingston's book, and the summary presented here fails to capture the depth of insight offered by its author....If, by some miraculous event, literary scholarship comes to realize the importance of the issue and to convince itself at last that here, in the analysis (and not just repudiation) of rationality, resides one of its most promising and most rewarding domains, it is to Paisley Livingston that it may turn for instruction and guidance." Willie Van Peer, Canadian Review of Comparative Literature