Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Literature, Ethics, and the Emotions

$105.00 (C)

  • Date Published: April 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107185951

$ 105.00 (C)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Recently there has been a renewed interest in the ethical value of literature. However, how exactly does literature contribute to our ethical understanding? In Literature, Ethics, and the Emotions, Kenneth Asher argues that literary scholars should locate this question in the long and various history of moral philosophy. On the basis of his own reading of this history, Asher contends for the centrality of emotions in our ethical lives and shows how literature - novels, poetry, and drama - can each contribute to crucial emotional understanding. Individual chapters on T. S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, and George Bernard Shaw give detailed analyses of how this contribution takes shape even in modernist authors who try to reconfigure the very nature of the self.

    • Proposes a theory of the way literature and ethics intersect that covers the three major genres, providing a comprehensive view of the ethical importance of literature
    • Places the discussion of ethics and literature in the long philosophical debate about the role of emotions in our ethical lives, making this book appealing to those in philosophy as well as literature
    • Offers a reconsideration of major modernist writers, showing readers how ethical theory can be applied specifically to often-taught works of the twentieth century
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Asher (SUNY, Geneseo) offers a nuanced exploration of the ethical function of emotions as rendered through selected works of T. S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, and George Bernard Shaw. … Asher argues that literature deepens readers' ethical awareness through intelligence of characters' affective lives. … Asher provocatively argues against literature as essentially a repository of normative scenarios and for its complex portrayal of relationships facilitating a deeper moral cognizance. … Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.' C. Baker, CHOICE

    '… Asher’s work will be of interest to a wider field of scholars concerned with the question of how reading and an attentiveness to emotions allows us to know the ethical life.' Vivek Santayana, BSLS Reviews

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107185951
    • length: 194 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.42kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Literature as the recalibration of emotions
    2. T. S. Eliot's emotive theory of poetry
    3. D. H. Lawrence: primal consciousness and the function of emotion
    4. Epistemology and ethics in Virginia Woolf
    5. George Bernard Shaw: history as cosmic comedy

  • Author

    Kenneth Asher, State University of New York, Geneseo
    Kenneth Asher holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Currently he is Professor of English and Philosophy at the State University of New York, Geneseo where he serves as Chairman of the Humanities Committee. He has also taught at Stanford University, California and the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is the author of T. S. Eliot and Ideology (Cambridge, 1995).

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.