Shadows of Ethics: Criticism and the Just Society (Hardback)
  • Shadows of Ethics: Criticism and the Just Society (Hardback)
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Shadows of Ethics: Criticism and the Just Society (Hardback)

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£90.00
Hardback 304 Pages / Published: 07/05/1999
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In this volume Geoffrey Galt Harpham argues for a deeply original view of the relations among ethics, literary study, and critical theory. In thirteen lucid, provocative and often witty essays, Harpham rejects both the optimism of those who see ethics as a way of solving problems about values or principles and the pessimism of those who regard ethics as primarily a cover story for politics.
Ethics, he claims, has been seen by its most powerful theorists as a discourse of "shadows," a characteristic disturbance of thought in the presence of the other, a source of doubts rather than certainty. At the same time, however, ethics includes an element of violence, even blindness and "fundamentalism," a crushing drive to clarity and resolution. Contemporary thinkers, Harpham argues, have been unwilling to accept this account of ethics and the obligations it would impose, and have, as a consequence, cultivated social and intellectual marginality as the only site of virtue, the only position in which critical intelligence is at home. They have, he contends, failed to "imagine the center," to take up the true intellectual and worldly challenge of ethics.
Tracking these issues and energies in debates about enlightenment, the politics of the aesthetic, the nature of rationality, and the worldly contexts of theory, Harpham demonstrates in compelling detail the ubiquity and true difficulty of ethics. Shadows of Ethics also revives a neglected genre, the intellectual portrait, with extended meditations on Jacques Derrida, Martha Nussbaum, Fredric Jameson, Geoffrey Hartman, and Noam Chomsky.
The book will interest literary critics, philosophers, cultural critics, and all those interested in the ethical character of intellectual work.

Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822323006
Number of pages: 304
Dimensions: 230 x 154 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Shadows of Ethics is sure to provoke surprise, debate, and constructive indignation in many of its readers."-Dominic Rainsford, University of Aarhus
"Shadows of Ethics is a brilliantly original book that calls everyone's bluff and takes the debate over the place of ethics in the humanities to a new level of seriousness."-Catherine Gallagher, University of California, Berkeley
"Harpham is one of the finest, most intelligent, and original of the new generation of U.S. literary critics and cultural historians, and this book is a first-rate contribution to current debates in criticism, theory, and the human sciences. "-Christopher Norris, University of Wales

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