Language, Truth, and Literature: A Defence of Literary by Richard Gaskin

By Richard Gaskin

In accordance with the literary humanist, works of imaginitive literature have an goal that means that is fastened on the time in their creation and that is an analogous for all readers, then and thereafter, now not topic to the vagaries of person readers' responses.

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11. Literary Theory: An Introduction, p. 9. OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 7/2/2013, SPi lite rature, fact, and f iction 27 required normativity, freeing the definition from its thraldom, in Eagleton’s formulation, to the vagaries of fashion and the dominance of consensual pressures; for what is valuable is constitutively what ought to be valued, not what as a matter of fact is valued. ) So the correction would permit us to say, as we desire, that it is possible for some works to be valued but not valuable, and for others to be valuable but not valued.

OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 7/2/2013, SPi language, text, and world 15 Words, objects, and the relation of reference linking them are, we have said, theoretical phenomena. From a metaphysical point of view, sentences are the given, and our ability to communicate using sentences is a primitive fact. But in order perspicuously to model our understanding of sentences, the theoretician appeals to words, abstracted from sentences, together with their senses and referents. Objects (including properties and relations) are simply the referential aspect of word meaning.

Samuel Johnson said that ‘the value of every story depends on its being true. ’2 And Dylan Thomas remarked that ‘A good poem . . ’3 Why the label ‘humanism’? Here is G. Thomas Tanselle: This approach concentrates on the humanity of verbal statements, seeing them as the products of human agency in past moments and attempting to unlock the previous human thoughts embedded in them. 4 As I shall explain in due course, I do not agree that the goal of understanding the truths expressed by creative literature is unreachable; but, apart from that reservation, I am in accord with Tanselle’s statement.

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