Abstract

Works of literature represent stories, characters and events: these are the contents of a work. It is characteristic of works of literature that these contents are narrated in a distinct style of writing, in an author’s distinct literary ‘voice’. In this paper, I consider whether works of literature might represent something over and above their fictional contents in virtue of their style alone, and what consequences this might have for our thinking about aesthetic education. Both of these concerns--with what works of art represent and what kind of knowledge they make available to us--have been central to recent analytic philosophy of art, however, while I will pay due attention to these debates, my main route into the question will not be through philosophy but by means of considering Virginia Woolf’s writing on the modernist break with earlier stylistic conventions. I suggest we may read Woolf’s remarks on modernism in literary style as preliminary work for a theory of how innovations in style make new kinds of understanding available to the reader.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-7809
Print ISSN
0021-8510
Pages
pp. 62-79
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-23
Open Access
No
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