What Is Fiction For?: Literary Humanism Restored

Paperback | December 29, 2014

byBernard Harrison

not yet rated|write a review

How can literature, which consists of nothing more than the description of imaginary events and situations, offer any insight into the workings of "human reality" or "the human condition"? Can mere words illuminate something that we call "reality"? Bernard Harrison answers these questions in this profoundly original work that seeks to re-enfranchise reality in the realms of art and discourse. In an ambitious account of the relationship between literature and cognition, he seeks to show how literary fiction, by deploying words against a background of imagined circumstances, allows us to focus on the roots, in social practice, of the meanings by which we represent our world and ourselves. Engaging with philosophers and theorists as diverse as Wittgenstein, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, Derrida, F. R. Leavis, Cleanth Brooks, and Stanley Fish, and illustrating his ideas through readings of works by Swift, Woolf, Appelfeld, and Dickens, among others, this book presents a systematic defense of humanism in literary studies, and of the study of the Humanities more generally, by a distinguished scholar.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$41.20 online
$45.50 list price (save 9%)
In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

How can literature, which consists of nothing more than the description of imaginary events and situations, offer any insight into the workings of "human reality" or "the human condition"? Can mere words illuminate something that we call "reality"? Bernard Harrison answers these questions in this profoundly original work that seeks to ...

Bernard Harrison is Emeritus E. E. Ericksen Professor of Philosophy at the University of Utah and Emeritus Professor in the Faculty of Humanities, University of Sussex, UK. He is author of Inconvenient Fictions: Literature and the Limits of Theory; The Resurgence of Anti-Semitism: Jews, Israel, and Liberal Opinion; and (with Patricia H...

other books by Bernard Harrison

The Resurgence of Anti-Semitism: Jews, Israel, and Liberal Opinion
The Resurgence of Anti-Semitism: Jews, Israel, and Libe...

Kobo ebook|Oct 27 2006

$33.89 online$43.99list price(save 22%)
Oxford Handbook of Key Clinical Evidence
Oxford Handbook of Key Clinical Evidence

Kobo ebook|Oct 20 2016

$48.99

The Quiet Earth: Text Classics
The Quiet Earth: Text Classics

Kobo ebook|Jul 24 2013

$12.79 online$16.50list price(save 22%)
see all books by Bernard Harrison
Format:PaperbackDimensions:622 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:December 29, 2014Publisher:Indiana University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0253014085

ISBN - 13:9780253014085

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of What Is Fiction For?: Literary Humanism Restored

Reviews

Extra Content

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
PART I: Getting Real
1. Humanism and its Discontents
2. The Mirror of Nature
3. Truth, Meaning and Reality
4. Leavis and Wittgenstein (I): A Living Language
5. Leavis and Wittgenstein (II): The "Third Realm"
PART II: Character, Language and Human Worlds
6. Nature and Artifice
7. Virginia Woolf and "The True Reality"
8. Aharon Appelfeld and the Problem of Holocaust Fiction
9. The Limits of Authorial License in Our Mutual Friend
PART III: Against "The Meaning of the Work"
10. Reactive versus Interpretive Criticism
11. Houyhnhnm Virtue
12. Sterne and Sentimentalism
PART IV: The Skeptic Side
13. Reanimating the Author
14. Persons and Narratives
15. Reading and Reading-In
16. Meaning It Literally: Derrida and his Critics Revisited
Epilogue: Telling the Great from the Good
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

"This book is interdisciplinary in the best sense of this term: firmly rooted in both philosophy and literary studies, it brings philosophy to bear, illuminatingly, on literary texts while also enlisting the latter for support of an innovative theory of meaning in language." -Leona Toker, Hebrew University of Jerusalem