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A journal focusing on literature and literary topics for the academic audience.

Articles from Vol. 32, No. 2, Summer

Ethical Criticism: What It Is and Why It Matters
Introduction "Change the name and it's about you, that story." Thus in his Satires (I.1. 69-70) Horace elegantly and succinctly defines the imaginative transposing by which readers identify with fictions. Telling and consuming stories is a fundamental...
Lyrical Ethics and Literary Experience
What sense can it make to attach the adjective "lyrical" to the term "ethics"? It is all too clear why writers and critics might want the attachment to ethics, for it seems as if literary criticism has to be able to idealize ethics now that it has...
Making, Taking, and Faking Lives: The Ethics of Collaborative Life Writing
Whose book is this? - Malcolm X Although issues of literary ethics may arise in any genre, ethical dilemmas seem to be built into collaborative life writing in ways peculiar to it.(1) With fiction, ethical criticism is usually concerned with...
"Nothing but Face" - "To Hell with Philosophy"?: Witold Gombrowicz, Bruno Schulz, and the Scandal of Human Countenance
Scene One: A Railway in Argentina Sitting in an Argentine train compartment, seething at the press of others, the twentieth-century Polish emigre writer Witold Gombrowicz begins his Diary entry for the year 1962 this way: That mug ten centimeters...
Saints, Sinners, and the Dickensian Novel: The Ethics of Storytelling in John Irving's 'The Cider House Rules.'
The intention of a novel by Charles Dickens is to move you emotionally, not intellectually; and it is by emotional means that Dickens intends to influence you socially. - John Irving, "The King of the Novel" In addition to affording readers the...
Sethe's Choice: 'Beloved' and the Ethics of Reading
Morrison's Unusual Guidance Now, too late, [Stamp Paid] understood [Baby Suggs]. The heart that pumped out love, the mouth that spoke the Word, didn't count. They came in her yard anyway and she could not approve or condemn Sethe's rough choice....
The Ethics of Reading Elie Wiesel's 'Night.'
A Dead Child Speaks My mother held me by my hand. Then someone raised the knife of parting: So that it should not strike me, My mother loosed her hand from mine. But she lightly touched my thighs once more And her hand was bleeding - After that...
Who Has the Right to Feel?: The Ethics of Literary Empathy
Like most golden rules, empathy is seen as more than a virtue; for many, it is a litmus test of one's humanity. In the political realm it is lobbied for in the form of social legislation and demanded of elected officials who must "relate" to their...
Why Ethical Criticism Can Never Be Simple
Auden's assertion that poetry doesn't make things happen is a tidy conceit for a melancholy afternoon's tea break, but as the prayers smoke from the mosque and the young thousands chant rap, my era will re-examine what is happening. Nor in that circum-audient...