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Human Rights in Literary Studies

From: Human Rights Quarterly
Volume 31, Number 2, May 2009
pp. 394-409 | 10.1353/hrq.0.0071



This article examines the state of the field in literature and human rights and, more generally, analyzes the relationship between ethics and aesthetics. It gives special attention to the paradox of representing suffering: namely, that speaking for others is both a way of rescuing and usurping the other’s voice. The use of individual narratives depicting inhumane treatment is important in supporting the human rights regime, which in the long run may limit suffering, but such narratives may also cause further suffering for the victim whose story is told.

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