Philosophical Approaches to the Study of Literature

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9780813017648: Philosophical Approaches to the Study of Literature

Surveying 2500 years of philosophically-oriented literary theory, Patrick Colm Hogan provides this explication and application of the philosophical underpinnings of literary study. It begins with Greek, Arabic and Sanskrit classics and works through to Chomskyan linguistics.

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Reaching well beyond recent continental theorists, Hogan provides a lucid overview that carefully explicates and applies theories from Aristotle to Derrida and beyond while radically revising and extending the theory canon as well. Contemporary literary study constantly invokes philosophical concepts and presupposes familiarity with key thinkers. At the same time it often betrays a limited understanding of the concepts and thinkers from which it claims authority. Surveying 2,500 years of philosophically oriented literary theory, Patrick Hogan provides students and teachers of literature with both explication and application of the philosophical underpinnings of literary study.

Beginning with Greek, Arabic, and Sanskrit classics, Hogan explains the philosophical work that has been crucial to literary theory, moving through Kant and the German Idealists (Fichte, Schelling, Hegel) and post-Idealists (Nietzsche, Marx), to phenomenology, hermeneutics, and the recent European schools (Foucaultian historiciusm, structuralism, deconstruction, and so on). He also presents the Anglo-American tradition, from logical positivism to Wittgenstein and the Ordinary Language theorists, from Chomskyan linguistics to cognitive science and philosophy of science.

Beyond the founding principles and general structure of these theories, Hogan illustrates their practical application and value with interpretive discussions of Othello and Agha Shahid Ali's "I Dream It Is Afternoon When I Return to Delhi." His straightforward, energetic style brings complex philosophical issues to bear on literary interpretation in readily accessible language.

About the Author:

Patrick Colm Hogan is professor of English and comparative literature at the University of Connecticut and the author of five books, including The Politics of Interpretation; Colonialism and Cultural Identity; and Joyce, Milton, and the Theory of Influence (UPE, 1995).

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