In what can only be called a genuine intellectual adventure, Russell Berman raises fundamental questions long ignored by literary scholars: Why does literature command our attention at all? Why would society want to cultivate a sphere of activity devoted to the careful study of literary fiction? Written as a tonic to what he calls the debilitating cultural relativism of contemporary literary studies, ""Fiction Sets You Free"" advances the innovative argument that literature and capitalism, rather than representing merely commercialization, actually belie a long and positive association: literary autonomy is a central part of modern Western culture, thoroughly intertwined with political democracy and free-market capitalism. Berman particularly challenges the issue of periodization, in which current scholarship emphasizes historical context over the integrity of a literary work and thus neglects the capacity of literature to remain interesting in other times and contexts. By moving from the origins of human language through the development of written alphabets and sacred texts, eventually probing the role of public literature in the creation of community, Berman elegantly and cogently surveys the intellectual landscape of Western societies. By giving us the license to dream and envision other worlds, literature sets us free.
Publisher: University of Iowa Press ISBN: 9781587296048 Number of pages: 270 Weight: 508 g Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 22 mm
Simply reserve online and pay at the counter when you collect.
Available in shop from just two hours, subject to availability.
Thank you for your reservation
Your order is now being processed and we have sent a confirmation email to you at
This item can be requested from the shops shown below. If this item isn't available to be reserved nearby, add the item to your basket instead and select 'Deliver to my local shop' at the checkout, to be able to collect it from there at a later date.
When will my order be ready to collect?
Following the initial email, you will be contacted by the shop to confirm that your item is available for collection.
Call us on or send us an email at
Unfortunately there has been a problem with your order
Please try again or alternatively you can contact your chosen shop on or send us an email at