In this Book

Levinas and Medieval Literature
buy this book Buy This Book in Print
summary
This collection of essays puts into dialogue the ethical philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas with a variety of English and rabbinic writings from the Middle Ages, when literature was regarded as ethical discourse, and reading itself, when rightly performed, was seen as a moral act.

Levinas and Medieval Literature takes the unique approach of connecting Christian allegory, talmudic hermeneutics, and Levinasian interpretation. Levinas’s philosophy illuminates what it means to classify medieval texts as profoundly ethical; and the medieval works, in their aurality, fragmentation, and layered narrative structures, provide a crucial context for understanding Levinas’s “difficult reading” and his underappreciated aesthetics.

These discussions draw inspiration from Levinas who, as a philosopher and talmudic commentator, continues premodern traditions in a postmodern key. In their view, Levinas’s “postmodern” method of reading, his ethical sensibilities, his very language, appear anachronistically medieval. At the same time, they discover that Levinas hyperbolically amplifies the themes with which medieval writings resonate: hospitality, onto(theo)logy, infinity, theodicy, Creation, eros, the maternal, the Face, substitution, and pardon. They find in medieval interpretive practices the very concerns with ethical reading that powerfully engaged Levinas.

Encountered dialogically, these mutual themes and concerns of the medievals and Levinas inform and transform our sense of intellectual history.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Contents
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. vii-viii
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Abbreviations
  2. pp. ix-x
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 1. Before the Face of the Book: A Levinasian Pre-face
  2. pp. 1-14
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 2. Difficult Reading
  2. pp. 15-34
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 3. Levinas, Allegory, and Chaucer’s Clerk’s Tale
  2. pp. 35-56
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 4. “In his eyes stood a light, not beautiful”: Levinas, Hospitality, Beowulf
  2. pp. 57-84
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 5. There Is Horror: The Awntyrs off Arthure, the Face of the Dead, and the Maternal Other
  2. pp. 85-106
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 6. Doing Justice to Isaac Levinas, the Akedah, and the Brome Play of Abraham and Isaac
  2. pp. 107-136
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 7. The Personifi cational Face Piers Plowman Rethought through Levinas and Bronowski
  2. pp. 137-156
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 8. The Infinite Desire of Pearl
  2. pp. 157-184
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 9. Criseyde’s Chances: Courtly Love and Ethics About to Come
  2. pp. 185-206
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 10. The Wound of the Infinite: Rereading Levinas through Rashi’s Commentary on the Song of Songs
  2. pp. 207-226
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 11. “A Land that Devours Its Inhabitants”: Midrashic Reading, Levinas, and Medieval Literary Exegesis
  2. pp. 227-254
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 12. When Pardon Is Impossible: Two Talmudic Tales, Chaucer’s Pardoner’s Tale, and Levinas
  2. pp. 255-280
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 13. Those Evil Goslings, Those Evil Stories: Letting the Boys Out of Their Cave
  2. pp. 281-304
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Notes
  2. pp. 305-358
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. About the Contributors
  2. pp. 359-362
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Index
  2. pp. 363-374
  3. restricted access Download |
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.