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Book Review

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However defined theoretically, literature and philosophy also designate two departments in most North American universities. The paths of these departments occasionally cross, say in a philosophy and literature course, then go their separate ways: toward logic, in the case of philosophy, and toward some variant of the still powerful New Criticism in literature departments, where poetry is considered as poetry and not as another thing. Combining literature and philosophy, or seeing them as always already intertwined, thus involves transgressing departmental boundaries and runs the risk of seeming dilettantish to those colleagues who remain within each discipline. Literature and the Question of Philosophy, an important collection of thirteen essays ably edited and introduced by Anthony J. Cascardi, presents the work of several philosophers willing to read literature along with, or as, philosophy. The volume also features essays by several literary scholars interested in taking on what are usually regarded as philosophical questions and texts. In this book, as in the journal I am reviewing it for, contesting the boundaries between literature and philosophy takes many forms, some of them riskier and more promising than others.

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Philosophy and Literature