Higher Education

The Trouble with Literature - Clarendon Lectures 2017

Oxford University

A series of four lectures delivered by Prof. Victoria Kahn in October 2017, arguing that literature in the Reformation is one vehicle by which religious belief was itself transformed into a human artifact, whether we understand this as a poetic artifact or a mental fiction. This transformation in turn helped produce the eighteenth-century discipline of aesthetics, with its emphasis on our experience of non-cognitive pleasure in the work of art, and the modern formalist definition of literature, according to which - in the words of one critic- 'literature solves no problems and saves no souls.' This modern definition of literature, in short, has a history, this history is intertwined with the problem of belief, and by returning to the fraught years of the late sixteenth and seventeenth century in England, we can come to a new understanding of how the trouble with literature has shaped our discipline.

Episodes

Lecture 1: Literature and Literariness
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2018-01-14 01:35:25 UTC 3517
Lecture 1: Literature and Literariness

Lecture 2: Hobbes and Maker's Knowledge
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Lecture 2: Hobbes and Maker's Knowledge

Lecture 3: Milton and the Problem of Belief
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Lecture 3: Milton and the Problem of Belief

Lecture 4: Literariness in Kant, Kierkegaard, and Coetzee
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2018-01-14 01:35:25 UTC 3339
Lecture 4: Literariness in Kant, Kierkegaard, and Coetzee