The aim of this article is to come to terms with the implications of Wittgenstein's remark that “ethics and aesthetics are one and the same.” Arguing that ethics, truth, and aesthetics have been implicitly or explicitly part of literary discourse for many years, despite being constantly disavowed, I suggest that the recent movement called the “New Aestheticism” can contribute much to understanding the relationship between ethics and literature. The article discusses Heidegger's concept ofaletheia—and correlations in Wittgenstein—and its relation to art. I then suggest that this, in conjunction with an understanding of metaphysical inquiry as ethical, offers a deeper and as yet unexplored sense of “ethics and literature” as an expression of truth. This sense of truth contrasts with what I take to be the two“wings” of recent “ethical criticism” (roughly, a more narrative-based neo-Aristotelian “wing” and a more deconstructive“wing”) and brings to light a shared presupposition in both“wings”: that a literary text offers a certain sort of positivist knowledge. This means that neither “wing” comes to terms with the“world revealing” aspect of literature and the ways in which“ethics and aesthetics are one and the same.”

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.