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Fictional Characters, Real Problems – The Search for Ethical Content in Literature - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Fictional Characters, Real Problems: The Search for Ethical Content in Literature

Garry L. Hagberg


This book brings together eighteen chapters written by an international team of philosophers and literary scholars investigating the ethical content of literature. Here, we see some fundamental ways of reading for ethical content, we encounter issues concerning the formation and the understanding of character, we see how we can come to see and understand the world in literary terms, we see literature’s distinctive role in self-identity and self-understanding, we see how moral growth and discernment are represented in—and perhaps encouraged by—literature, and we see how some of our central mora ... More

Keywords: ethics, philosophical literature, fictional characters, moral concepts, Jane Austen, philosophy

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780198715719
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198715719.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Garry L. Hagberg, editor
Bard College, NY

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Garry L. Hagberg

Part I Ways of Reading for Ethical Content

Part II Matters of Character

4 Othello’s Paradox

Garry L. Hagberg

6 Emma’s Extravagance

Valerie Wainwright

Part III Literature, Subjectivity, and Poetic Vision

9 An Endless Person

Jonathan Strauss

Part IV Language, Dialogical Identity, and Self-Understanding

12 Quartet

Stephen Mulhall

Part V Patterns and Possibilities of Moral Growth

Part VI Historical Genealogies of Moral-Aesthetic Concepts

17 Shaftesbury as Virtuoso

Martin Donougho

End Matter