Aesthetics & Ethics

Otherness and Moral Imagination from Aristotle to Levinas and from "Uncle Tom´s Cabin" to "House Made of Dawn"

1. Edition, 2008
466 Pages

ISBN: 978-3-8253-5453-4
Product: Book
Edition: Hardcover
Subject: Anglistik/Amerikanistik
Series: American Studies – A Monograph Series, Volume No.: 163
Available: 07.04.2008

Keywords: Ästhetik, Ethik, Levinas, Emmanuel, Melville, Herman, Ricoeur, Paul, Kant, Immanuel, Wright, Richard, Stowe, Harriet Beecher, Moralphilosophie

In a first, theoretical part, this study analyzes what role "otherness" plays in the most influential moral-philosophical approaches to date – from Aristotle and the Neo-Aristotelians (Alasdair MacIntyre, Martha Nussbaum) via Kantianism and its deconstructors (Jean-François Lyotard, J. Hillis Miller) to the works of Paul Ricoeur and Emmanuel Levinas – and sheds light on its highly problematic status in Western notions of justice and aesthetics.
Starting from a revised notion of the sublime, the second part uses the different theoretical approaches to interpret four American novels (Harriet Beecher Stowe's 'Uncle Tom's Cabin', Herman Melville's 'Billy Budd, Sailor', Richard Wright's 'Native Son', and N. Scott Momaday's 'House Made of Dawn'), and examines how far the respective moral-philosophical systems carry in elucidating these texts, as well as what role literary-historical and generic strategies play in dramatizing the encounter with "otherness".

Lefteris Kalospyros in: European Journal of American Studies, 2013-1 [1], online 5.2.2013, URL:

Bárbara Arizti Martín in: Atlantis, 32.2 (Dec 2010), 137ff

Thomas Austenfeld in: American Literary Scholarship, 2008, 479f