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date: 11 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on literary artists—that is, novelists, poets, and playwrights—who have shown fascination with Baruch Spinoza’s philosophy. The fictionalization of Spinoza’s life begins during the Enlightenment period and continues until today. The multifaceted literary attraction to Spinoza becomes only more remarkable when one considers how little it was reciprocated. For all the attention that literary artists have paid to Spinoza, he appears to have accorded little thought to the arts. This chapter first examines why Spinoza has paid little attention to the arts before turning to literary figures who have made Spinoza the central character of their work, including Gotthold Lessing, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Hölderlin, Novalis, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, Heinrich Heine, Matthew Arnold, Herman Melville, George Eliot, Jorge Luis Borges, Zbigniew Herbert, Eugene Ostashevsky, Goce Smilevski, and Isaac Bashevis Singer. It concludes by discussing how compatible literary Spinoza is with philosophical Spinoza.

Keywords: literary artists, novelists, poets, playwrights, Spinoza, philosophy, arts, Herman Melville, George Eliot, Matthew Arnold

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