In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

144Philosophy and Literature and Yeats, for example, are treated primarily as philosophers, and the fluid, resonant aspects of their language are often ignored. Adams, aware of this difficulty, qualifies his readings of Blake, with phrases like "in my own 'allegoric' or priestly reading of the passage . . ." and "I must from another point of view — that of externality or 'fall' and, ironically enough, of critical interpretation . . . ." But in addition to being self-conscious, Adams suggests this may not be as troubling a situation as it seems. For the "antimythic" language ofanalysis, to use a term from the book, or the Devouring, to use a parallel term adopted from Blake, may not be as negating to the mythic or Prolific as it may be a force helping to create its own opposite. Indeed, Adams says in his introduction that he plans a later "practical" work, which may form the productive contrary to this impressive theoretical foundation. University of Colorado, BoulderMartin Bickman Philosophy and Fiction: Essays in Literary Aesthetics, edited by Peter Lamarque; ix & 111 pp. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1983, £11.95. This modest volume contains five stimulating essays on a variety of topics in literary aesthetics. There is also an excellent introduction to the collection in which Peter Lamarque summarizes the individual essays and explains their relationship both to one another and to important issues in literary theory. The articles are all of a high standard, although those of Colin Lyas and Peter Lamarque are quite outstanding. Lyas argues tellingly against Beardsley's idea that literary works are autonomous aesthetic objects whose language is essentially that of pretense. In so doing he emphasizes the logical limits of pretense, arguing that a writer cannot successfully pretend to show emotional maturity or perceptiveness without possessing those qualities at least on the occasion of writing. As a result he argues convincingly against the view that these attributes are properly those of an implied author or fictional narrator. They are those of a real person who has responded through his or her writing to an actual situation. This must, of course, have profound consequences for Lyas's view of critical practice: a view which is strongly opposed to that of the New Critics. Lamarque offers a similarly controversial, but penetrating and exciting account of the logic of fiction. His is a heavily Fregean approach, and he deals cogently with a surprisingly large range of problems in a well constructed article. There is much in the article to take issue with, but it is a well-argued piece which will be of considerable use in the classroom. S. H. Olsen's account of criticism and appreciation is one, I think, which furnishes a sound antidote to the many incoherent relativisms which pervade literary theory. On his view, it is aesthetic features which "constitute the text of a literary work" (p. 43), but such features are not simply reducible to textual features. They have to be identified against the background of certain cultural practices and conventions. Olsen believes that such Reviews145 identification always involves interpretation, but there is no clear explication or development of the latter notion, and this seems to weaken the essay. Flint Seiner's piece is rather less satisfactory, not because it is without interest or wrongheaded , but because it is unnecessarily convoluted. It begins by posing Hume's famous question ofwhy we take pleasure in tragedy, and takes rather too many pages to reach the conclusion that Hume's answer is basically correct. He then moves on to the different question of why we value and seek out the experience of tragedy in the theatre. His answer to this question is not without merit, but is labored and incomplete. Perhaps most controversial of all is Beardsmore's article on censorship. He rightly points out that the notion of censorship depends crucially on the view that some people are in a better position than others to make moral judgments (p. 104). But this idea, he claims, makes no sense at all. One can, we are told, be in a better position to make factual , but not moral, judgments. This seems wrong. For one thing, it overlooks the factual dimension ofmoraljudgments. One can be in a...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 144-145
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.