Postwar Academic Fiction: Satire, Ethics, Community

By Kenneth Womack | Go to book overview

Notes

Chapter 1: Introduction

1
As Wayne C. Booth observes in The Company We Keep: an Ethics of Fiction (1988), “the word ‘ethical’ may mistakenly suggest a project concentrating on quite limited moral standards: of honesty, perhaps, or of decency or tolerance.” In Booth's postulation, however, “ethical” refers to “the entire range of effects on the ‘character’ or ‘person’ or ‘self.’ ‘Moral’ judgments are only a small part of it” (8). In this study, I will elaborate upon Booth's usage of the term in order to share in the establishment of a reading paradigm that, in its effort to investigate the interconnections between the lives of readers and their textual experiences, eschews censorship and the codification of moral standards.
2
Although in this instance ethical criticism operates as a partial rejoinder to the excesses of the poststructuralist theoretical project, the notion of reading ethically finds its foundations in a number of historical antecedents. Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, for example, establishes precedents for the understanding of happiness (1.5), goodness (1.7), virtue (2.5), pleasure (3.10), justice (5.1), and friendship (8.3). In “The Poet” (1844), Ralph Waldo Emerson calls for a transcendental artificer to engage nature and language as a “sayer,” a “namer,” and a “liberating god” who can articulate the value of reason, love, and beauty to an emerging nation (219, 231). Similarly, in his controversial volume, The Renaissance (1873), Walter Pater endured charges of hedonism for his examinations of art and its power to yield both aesthetic meaning as well as an expanded sense of consciousness: “Great passions may give us this quickened sense of life, ecstasy and sorrow of love, the various forms of enthusiastic activity, disinterested or otherwise, which come naturally to many of us,” he writes. “Of such wisdom, the poetic passion, the desire of beauty, the love of art for its own sake, has most. For art comes to you proposing frankly to give nothing but the highest quality to your moments as they pass, and simply for those moments' sake” (153). While his arguments ultimately border on censorship and critical exclusion because of his unduly high literary and moral standards, F. R. Leavis in The Great Tradition (1948) ascribed value to the works of writers that celebrated the moral fabric of the human community. Such writers, Leavis writes, “are significant in terms of the human awareness they promote; awareness of the possibilities of life” (10). Finally, Northrop Frye's Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays (1957) posits that the concept of an ethical criticism presupposes the idea of artists as moral focalizers for their communities: “The social context of art is also the moral context of art,” Frye notes. “Hence the moral view of the artist is invariably that he ought

-164-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Postwar Academic Fiction: Satire, Ethics, Community
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 207

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.