Recent philosophical discussion about the relation between fiction and reality pays little attention to our moral involvement with literature. Frank Palmer's purpose is to investigate how our appreciation of literary works calls upon and develops our capacity for moral understanding. He explores a wide range of philosophical questions about the relation of art to morality, and challenges theories that he regards as incompatible with a humane view of literary art. Palmer considers, in particular, the extent to which the values and moral concepts involved in our understanding of human beings can be said to enter into our understanding of, and response to, fictional characters. The scope of his discussion encompasses literary aesthetics, ethics, and epistemology, and he makes extensive reference to literary examples.
'should be welcomed for its insistence upon the essential relationship between art and life; and for its stand against those current theories of criticism which seek to dehumanize literature'
Edwin Webb, Use of English
'a timely book ... Palmer's alternative approach, which proceeds by means of austere, clear and persistent arguments, will greatly interest serious students of aesthetics and of literature. Palmer's book is very good indeed ... it will stimulate its scholarly readers for a long time to come and, one hopes, keep its undergraduate audience on the straight and narrow path of wholesome philosophical analysis.'
Suzanne Stern-Gillet, Bolton Institute, British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 34, No. 6, Oct '94
`The discussion is clear and robust ... the book is a work of vigorous polemic which should give rise to valuable discussion.'
Review of English Studies