William Dean Howell's A Hazard of New Fortunes and Soren Kierkegaard's Philosophy of Existence by Sixta Quaßdorf

William Dean Howell's A Hazard of New Fortunes and Soren Kierkegaard's Philosophy of Existence

bySixta Quaßdorf

Kobo ebook | September 29, 2003

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Seminar paper from the year 2002 in the subject American Studies - Literature, University of Basel (English Seminar), course: 2nd Year Course: Howells & James, 20 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: In contrast to the writings by his contemporary Henry James, Howells's A Hazard of New Fortunes can surely not be called a 'difficult' read. The socio-critical message seems obvious, the sequence of events is almost linear and easy to follow, and the characters act in a sufficiently comprehensible way. Yet as it often happens, more subtle implications become apparent when the novel is given some deeper thought. One just has to begin to ask questions like 'why do we have such a multitude of characters?' or 'why is this or that statement put into irony?', and one will discover an intrinsic network of interrelated meaning on a number of different levels. Ironically enough, Howells seems to give himself some of the reasons for a certain underestimation of his literature. He sees that an art which prefers 'the common, the simple and the unpretentious' contradicts the aesthetic demands of a sophisticated readership, and so does a strong ethical concern. In A Hazard Howells makes March explain, for example, that if he wrote 'those things with an ethical intention explicitly in mind, [he] should spoil them' (129). Furthermore strong ethical opinions are met with a lack of understanding. Ethical convictions do not seem to fit into modern times and appear either old-fashioned, antiaesthetic or both. Whilst Howells explores the question of ethics, responsibility and agency through the carful description of people's problems, thoughts and doings - faithful to his maxim that 'realism is nothing more and nothing less than the truthful treatment of material' (1993, Vol II: 319) - a Danish philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard, developed a system of modes of human existence to the same purpose half a century earlier. Like Howells, he started from a faithful description and analysis of human character. [...]
Title:William Dean Howell's A Hazard of New Fortunes and Soren Kierkegaard's Philosophy of ExistenceFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:September 29, 2003Publisher:GRIN VerlagLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:3638220656

ISBN - 13:9783638220651

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