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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Philosophy and Literature, Literature and Philosophy

virtual philosopher: Who Said Philosophy Isn't Glamorous?:

SB: Do you believe that great literature is often deeply philosophical, and great philosophy is often great literature?What books do you consider both philosophical and literary?

NW: Shakespeare, Kafka, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Beckett, T.S. Eliot, and indeed most great literary writers engage with philosophical questions both directly and indirectly in their work. That’s because philosophy is at the heart of the human condition. Plato, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, and many more philosophers were undeniably great literary writers. Crudely, writers who show rather than simply say, those who find indirect ways of communicating their thoughts, who do it through character, situation, and impersonation are most likely to be thought of as literary. Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, and Kierkegaard’s Either/Or (and particularly ‘The Seducer’s Diary’ within that), are classic examples of genre-defying books that are both literary and philosophical. 

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