The Moral of the Story: Literature and Public Ethics

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The contributors to The Moral of the Story, all preeminent political theorists, are unified by their concern with the instructive power of great literature. This thought-provoking combination of essays explores the polyvalent moral and political impact of classic world literatures on public ethics through the study of some of its major figures-including Shakespeare, Dante, Cervantes, Jane Austen, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, Robert Penn Warren, and Dostoevsky. Positing the uniqueness of literature's ability to promote dialogue on salient moral and intellectual virtues, editor Henry T. Edmonson III has culled together a wide-ranging exploration of such fundamental concerns as the abuse of authority, the nature of good leadership, the significance of 'middle class virtues' and the needs of adolescents. This collection reinvigorates the study of classic literature as an endeavor that is not only personally intellectually satisfying, but also an inimitable and unique way to enrich public discourse.