Ethical Agency and the Global Community: A Phenomenological Exploration of Literary Discourse

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Wayne George Deakin


The following paper explores the ethical possibilities of the reception of literary discourse, using the philosophical approach of phenomenology as a compass in order to help in assessing the ethical possibilities available to readers of literature. I explore the aesthetic discourse that opens up a reconfigured sense of Being through which the putative reading subject becomes defamiliarised. Focusing especially upon the example of James Joyce, I argue that this new phenomenological attitude to the world engenders the possibility of a new ethical encounter with the “other” through which perceived sociocultural barriers of other-ness are broken down, actualising a stronger sense of global community. After utilising a number of literary-critical theories such as formalism, structuralism, poststructuralism, and postcolonialism, in the service of my overall phenomenological argument, I conclude by arguing for the timeliness of this heuristic literary-critical-tool in the context of the current socio-political landscape.


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