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Title: Learning from the novel : feminism, philosophy, literature
Author: Kerr, Joanna
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1998
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Analytic philosophy since Plato has been notoriously hostile to literature, and yet in recent years, increasing numbers of philosophers within the tradition have sought to take seriously the question of how it is that literature can be philosophical. Analytic philosophy has also been noted for its hostility to women and resistance to feminism. In this thesis I seek to make connections between firstly the prejudice against, and then the potential for, the contribution of the perspectives of literature and feminism in philosophy, attempting to answer simultaneously the two questions; How can literature be philosophical? How can feminists write philosophy? In the sense that I attempt to take these questions seriously, and answer them precisely, this thesis fits into the analytic philosophical tradition. However, my response to these questions, and thus the majority of this thesis, takes the form of a non-traditional demonstration of the philosophical potential of literature presented through three feminist literary genres; autographical fiction, utopian fiction, and detective fiction. Using generic divisions seems to be an appropriate strategy for reclaiming literature as philosophical, since it suggests an identification with the Aristotelian defence of literary arts against Plato's assault. However, I will argue that these literary genres have traditionally been defined in terms which prohibit a philosophical reading. I will expose and then recover this anti-philosophical bias, particularly when it coincides with feminist genre revisions. This recovery will take the form of a philosophical reconceptualizing of each genre, and a specific comparative analysis of two texts adopted as representative of each genre as I conceive it. In this way I hope to show that it is not only possible, but highly advantageous, to learn from the novel.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available