Nielsen Book Data Publisher's Summary Drawing on interdisciplinary work in the field of ethics and literature by a diverse range of thinkers, including Martha Nussbaum, Emmanuel Levinas and Paul Ricoeur, Jil Larson offers new readings of late Victorian and turn-of-the-century British fiction, she shows how ethical concepts can transform our understanding of narratives, just as narratives make possible a valuable, contextualised moral deliberation.
Focusing on novels by Thomas Hardy, Sarah Grand, Olive Schreiner, Oscar Wilde, and Henry James, Larson explores the conjunction of ethics and fin-de-siecle history and culture through a consideration of what narratives from this period tell us about emotion, reason, and gender, aestheticism, and such speech acts as promising and lying. This book will be of interest to scholars of nineteenth century and modernism, and all interested in the conjunction between narrative, ethics and literary theory.
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Ethics and Narrative in the English Novel, 1880–1914
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You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner www. Please see the permission section of the www. Larson's interpretations of the novels are thematic, concerned primarily with characters as moral agents, though she attends at times to aspects of narrative technique and form; very little biographical or historical detail pertains to her argument. Chapter 3 redeems Thomas Hardy as a New Woman novelist comparable to Sarah Grand and Olive Schreiner because he respects "the ethical and cognitive potential of emotion" Without fully explaining the contradiction, Larson both praises the New Woman novelists for rejecting "the separate spheres" that relegate women to unreasoning emotion, and notes that they "associate emotion with women" in stories that end in the heroines' suffering 49, More interestingly, Larson suggests the feminist potential of flirting Sue Bridehead might readily be accused of it as a deferral of the ending, a "new ethics of possibility" Kantian ethics seek to separate chance outcomes from ethical concerns, since morality should be an internal matter of intention.
More recent ethicists acknowledge that deeds are interpreted differently depending on the results, even those beyond the agent's knowledge or control. Hardy similarly evolves a more complex, interdependent model that accepts continuing ethical responsibility for chance consequences: Larson persuasively aligns Hardy with Peter Brooks's concept of melodrama, or "the moral occult"; melodrama "enabled Hardy to recreate God as a gambler" , an ethically more appealing persona than the Omnipotent who engineers suffering.
The triangulation of Dorian Gray , The Ambassadors , and Emmanuel Levinas in chapter 5 produces supple and unexpected reflections on