Writers and Philosophers: A Sourcebook of Philosophical Influences on Literature

Writers and Philosophers: A Sourcebook of Philosophical Influences on Literature

Writers and Philosophers: A Sourcebook of Philosophical Influences on Literature

Writers and Philosophers: A Sourcebook of Philosophical Influences on Literature

Synopsis

This book provides strong guidance to teachers and students of literature that gives them a greater understanding of the philosophical influences on more than 100 major literary figures. The text describes philosophical influences reflected in their writings as well as references to philosophical works that are known to have played a part in their intellectual and aesthetic development.

Excerpt

Throughout our careers as teachers of literature and philosophy, we have become increasingly aware of the debt owed by western literary figures to the philosophical speculations of thinkers from the time of the ancient Greeks to the present and to the mysticism of the Orient. At any level of instruction, the teacher of literature and literary criticism draws inevitably, often unknowingly, on philosophical theory in the examination of poetry, fiction, and drama. Platonism in the works of the Romantic poets and, more recently, Martin Heidegger, Karl Jaspers, and Jean-Paul Sartre are cases in point. Discussions with teachers of undergraduate courses in literature and with graduate students in English and our own observations over the past twenty-five years have led us to recognize a serious need among teachers and students for guidance to the philosophical influences that contributed, at times profoundly, to the work of major literary figures and to literary criticism. The teacher and student alike must bring to the study of literature an awareness of philosophical sources.

Thus, we were led to the compilation of this sourcebook. Our goal is to provide a resource which will help develop to a greater depth concepts with which teachers and students of literature may have some familiarity. It is hoped that the entries will serve as useful points of departure for further study and research and will contribute to an increased understanding and enjoyment of literature.

It is important to affirm the character of this text as a source of philosophical influences in fiction, poetry, and drama and to assert that, although we are aware that the entries cannot preclude an interpretive element, our intent is to provide brief, factual, basic information about literary figures and their philosophical sources. The literary figures se-

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