David Palumbo-Liu introduces his book, The Deliverance of Others: Reading Literature in a Global Age, with the simple statement that “this is a short book, meant to be almost a kind of primer” (xii). Its brief is to argue that reading contemporary literature can create an ethical relation between self and other. The book explores the specific challenges brought on by the global acceleration of real and virtual proximity, such that everybody is being asked to encounter more and more difference or “otherness” all the time. Palumbo-Liu argues that although the stated goal of literature since the early modern period has been to “mobilize (or even instantiate) empathy for others and enhance our ethical capabilities,” in the contemporary moment of globalization, things get more complicated because “otherness” is “immediately, insistently, and intensely pressing itself into the here and now of everyday...

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