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date: 23 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Claims about the essence of literature have not always been motivated by the goal of identifying the proper object of a field of scientific research. Sometimes the point has been to denounce literature as a source of mimetic corruption and deceit. More frequently, great moral or epistemic value has been attributed to literature, where what is really meant is ‘literature at its best’. One example — among hundreds — is Maurice Blanchot's characterization of literature as a sceptical process crucial to a kind of existential authenticity. A plausible complaint about such theorizings is that they overlook the importance of recognizing the existence of bad literature, and of good literature that happens to lack those virtues the theorist cares to promote.

Keywords: essence of literature, scientific research, mimetic corruption, epistemic value, existential authenticity, good literature

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