This essay deals with the complex relationship between literature and ethics. More specifically, it inquires into and problematizes the conceptual ways in which such discursive distinctions as that between literature and moral philosophy have been upheld, as well as the assumptions and presuppositions underlying the ascription to literature of an ethically exemplary role. Accepting the methodological and conceptual challenges presented by some of the major philosophical and theoretical positions informing literature's perception as ethically exemplary (from Aristotle to Jakobson and Derrida), this essay suggests a new theoretical framework for thinking about the enmeshment of literature and ethics, drawing especially on the works of Bakhtin and MacIntyre.

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