Although literature and logic share a number of surprising symmetries and historical contacts, they have typically been seen to occupy separate disciplinary spheres. Declaring a subfield in literary studies — logic and literature — this introduction outlines various connections between literary formalism and formal logic. It surveys historical interactions and reciprocal influences between literary and logical writers from antiquity through the twentieth century, and it examines how literary theory and criticism have been institutionally shadowed by a logical unconscious, from the New Criticism and (post)structuralism to recent debates about historicism and formalism. It further considers how the subfield of logic and literature, in its constitutive attention to form, is neatly positioned to cut across these debates, and it sketches ways of reading at the interface of aesthetics, philosophy of literature, and literary studies that might be energized by an appeal to logical contexts, ideas, and methods.
Introduction: Logic and Literary Form
Jeffrey Blevins works on modernist literature and questions of form. He is currently at work on a book about lying as a literary trope. His recent work is either forthcoming or published in Twentieth-Century Literature, The Journal of Modern Literature, English Literary History, and Victorian Poetry.
Jeffrey Blevins, Daniel Williams; Introduction: Logic and Literary Form. Poetics Today 1 March 2020; 41 (1): 1–36. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-7974058
Download citation file: