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Love's Knowledge
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Winner of the PEN/Spielvogel-Diamondstein prize for the best collection of essays in 1991

Table of Contents

1: Introduction: Form and Content, Philosophy and Literature 2: The Discernment of Perception: An Aristotelian Conception of Private and Public Rationality 3: Plato on Commensurability and Desire 4: Flawed Crystals: James's The Golden Bowl and Literature as Moral Philosophy 5: "Finely Aware and Richly Responsible": Literature and the Moral Imagination 6: Perceptive Equilibrium: Literary Theory and Ethical Theory 7: Perception and Revolution: The Princess Casamassima and the Political Imagination 8: Sophistry About Conventions 9: Reading for Life 10: Fictions of the Soul 11: Love's Knowledge 12: Narrative Emotions: Beckett's Geneology of Love 13: Love and the Individual: Romantic Rightness and Platonic Aspiration 14: Steerforth's Arm: Love and the Moral Point of View 15: Transcending Humanity

About the Author

Martha C. Nussbaum is Professor of Law and Ethics and the University of Chicago Law School.

Reviews

"An engaging and satisfying study of literature's intrinsic relationship to philosophy, and of philosophy in its relationship to the rich web of human love and choice....It is a book textured with so many lives and stories that it cannot fail to inspire lively debate on the role of novelist as philosopher and on the centrality of love to wisdom."--Christianity & Literature "The best modern discussion of the ways in which what we call philosophy and what we call literature interrelate....Anyone who wants to think about how literature and philosophy can serve each other should not just read this book but study it and return to its complex arguments again and again." --Wayne Booth, Philosophy and Literature "I did not want Love's Knowledge to stop, and I find myself trusting its progress as much as that of any work of moral thinking of recent times."--Arion "One of the most original books published [in 1991], a hugely stimulating read, which returns us with thoughts refreshed to some of our best-loved authors and brings philosophy back to earth in the process."--The Observer "With this volume Martha Nussbaum gives new meaning to the word `interdisciplinary': No mere dabbling in closely aligned fields, the essays presented here are based on her considerable knowledge and understanding of classics, philosophy, and comparative literature....Her assertions are balanced, insightful, and infused with subtle humor."--The Bloomsbury Review "An engaging and satisfying study of literature's intrinsic relationship to philosophy, and of philosophy in its relationship to the rich web of human love and choice....It is a book textured with so many lives and stories that it cannot fail to inspire lively debate on the role of novelist as philosopher and on the centrality of love to wisdom."--Christianity & Literature "The best modern discussion of the ways in which what we call philosophy and what we call literature interrelate....Anyone who wants to think about how literature and philosophy can serve each other should not just read this book but study it and return to its complex arguments again and again." --Wayne Booth, Philosophy and Literature "I did not want Love's Knowledge to stop, and I find myself trusting its progress as much as that of any work of moral thinking of recent times."--Arion "One of the most original books published [in 1991], a hugely stimulating read, which returns us with thoughts refreshed to some of our best-loved authors and brings philosophy back to earth in the process."--The Observer "With this volume Martha Nussbaum gives new meaning to the word `interdisciplinary': No mere dabbling in closely aligned fields, the essays presented here are based on her considerable knowledge and understanding of classics, philosophy, and comparative literature....Her assertions are balanced, insightful, and infused with subtle humor."--The Bloomsbury Review "To move with authority over so wide a range of intellectual history, the author must be an unlikely combination: an acute and sensitive critic of ancient and modern literature, a professional philosopher and a trained scholar of ancient Greek. In this case skepticism can be dispensed with; Martha Nussbaum is all of these things."--Washington Post Book World "Only taken together can these essays hope to become the saboteurs and not the victims of interdisciplinary demarcations. The cumulative effect of reading them in succession is a sense of richness and exhilaration."--A.W. Price, Center for Hellenic Studies, Washington, DC "Martha Nussbaum is doubtless one of our most compassionate philosophical critics. These essays restore a deeply philosophical intelligence to literature; at the same time philosophy once again becomes human through its encounter with the literary text."--Anthony J. Cascardi, University of California, Berkeley "It is Martha Nussbaum's striking and profound idea that questions of style and substance are so intricately bound up with one another, that if the deep questions of moral life are in issue, they can be but inadequately dealt with through philosophical writing as currently practiced. The novel, by contrast, is a marvelously suited instrument of moral cogitation, and in this book she takes the novel away from the dry deconstructive fingers of literary theory, as she takes moral philosophy out of the narrowing confines of professional philosophical prose. So she has put together a wonderful book about meaning, writing, knowledge, and human truth."--Arthur C. Danto, Columbia University "Love's Knowledge is an important book, one that should reshape our thought about ethics. Martha Nussbaum shows how contemporary philosophical debate has excluded central questions: questions about human life and what is important in it, questions about how styles of thought and writing express particular and challengeable ethical views, questions about the mutual relations of philosophy and literature. She makes clear what was at stake in the 'ancient quarrel' between poetry and philosophy, and brings out its relevance to our own attempts to achieve understanding of the complex and confusing realities of our lives. Love's Knowledge is written with grace and clarity; it is, indeed, illuminated by love--love of the texts and authors that Professor Nussbaum writes about, and loving attention to what our lives, including our moral thoughts and feelings, are really like."--Cora Diamond, University of Virginia "Love's Knowledge is a work of passionate reflection, exemplifying the virtue it extols. It is a courageous work, morally and intellectually, for which Martha Nussbaum deserves praise as well as thanks."--Radcliffe Quarterly "This weighty collection of essays offers a feast not to be missed by those disillusioned with the positivistic strains of much twentieth-century Anglo-American philosophy and ethics....Her premises are classic; her reasoning, innovative by virtue of its courageous consistency."--Journal of the American Academy of Religion "Fundamentally a collection of essays, this book re-pays re-reading, and not simply because it has an attractively inconclusive quality about it which makes one want to read more of Professor Nussbaum's work. It is important because it is in large part an attempt to reconceptualize the relationship between `virtue' and `enlightenment', two modes of ethical thinking between which we do not have to choose."--Literature & Theology "Love's Knowledge is a welcome book."--Dialogue

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