Textual Ethos Studies, or: Locating Ethics


What is the relationship between texts and ethics? Who decides the ethics of a text, the writer or the reader? What happens to ethics in texts that portray dreams or psychoses? Is violence always inherently unethical? In dealing with others is violence to both them and oneself ever completely avoidable?
Textual Ethos Studies does not attempt to provide definitive answers to these questions so much as to be a springboard to the further discussion of ethics in relation to specific texts. The essays illustrate varying perspectives — ranging from the philosophical to the psychoanalytical to the linguistic — that can be used to localize how texts engage or invite an engagement with ethics.
Twenty scholars representing Asia, Europe, Israel, North America, and South Africa highlight the complex relationship between cultural context and ethics, and between the ethical and the unethical. Several essays deal with the study of atypical texts that represent different attitudes toward the violent, the disordered, the traumatized, the psychotic, and the sentimental in order to encourage — or provoke — further discussion of the relevance of these types of texts to ethics.

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Anna FAHRAEUS: Introduction. Textual Ethos Studies– or Locating Ethics
Nancy GLAZENER: The Novel, the Social and the Event: An International Ethical Encounter
Nicholas CHARE: Execrable Speech: Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s Bagatelles pour un Massacre
Sara COHEN SHABOT: The Grotesque on Fleshing Out the Subject of Ethics
Becky MCLAUGHLIN: Playing Ball With God: Breaking the Law in Breaking the Waves
Stuart J. MURRAY: Post-textual Ethics: Foucault’s Rhetorical Will
Michal Pawel MARKOWSKI: Shakespeare’s Othello: Jealousy and Hermeneutics
Myrtle HOOPER: The Ethics of Modality in Pauline Smith’s The Sisters
Pietra PALAZZOLO: Telling Stories: Alterity and Ethics in John Banville’s The Untouchable
and Shroud
Per SIVEFORS: “All this tractate is but a dream”: The Ethics of Dream Narration in
Thomas Nashe’s The Terrors of the Night
Linda BELAU: Reading Kristeva and Beyond: Psychoanalysis As Textual Ethics
Siobhán COLLINS: Bodily Formations and Reading Strategies in John Donne’s Metempsychosis
Adia MENDELSON-MAOZ: Checkpoint Syndrome: Violence, Madness, and Ethics in the Hebrew Literature of the Intifada
Victoria BEST: The Uses and Abuses of Children: Fairy Tales and the Pornographic
Anne REEF: Representations of Rape in Apartheid and Post-apartheid South African
AnnKatrin JONSSON: Nightwood and the Limits of Representation
Todd F. DAVIS and Kenneth WOMACK: David Mamet’s Altered Ethics: Finding Forgiveness or Something Like It, in House of Games, The Spanish Prisoner, and State and Main
Zhou XIAOJING: “Your otherness is perfect as my death”: The Ethics and Aesthetics of
Li-Young Lee’s Poetry
Chris THOMPSON: The Look of Ethics: Emmanuel Levinas, Léo Bronstein, and the Interhuman Intrigue
David WATSON: A Mind Poised Between Desires: The Ethos of T.S. Eliot’s Poetry and Criticism
Jakob WINNBERG: Sentimentality in Postmodernist Fiction: From Ethical Problem to Ethical Possibility
Notes on the contributors