Stanley Cavell is widely recognized as one of America's most important contemporary philosophers, and his legacy and writings continue to attract considerable attention among literary critics and theorists. Stanley Cavell and the Claim of Literature comprehensively addresses the importance of literature in Cavell's philosophy and, in turn, the potential effect of his philosophy on contemporary literary criticism.
David Rudrum dedicates a chapter to each of the writers that principally occupy Cavell, including Shakespeare, Thoreau, Beckett, Wordsworth, Ibsen, and Poe, and incorporates chapters on tragedy, skepticism, ethics, and politics. Through detailed analysis of these works, Rudrum explores Cavell's ideas on the nature of reading; the relationships among literary language, ordinary language, and performative language; the status of authors and characters; the link between tragedy and ethics; and the nature of political conversation in a democracy.
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