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Introduction - What Is Stylistic Virtue?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 June 2021

Matthew Sussman
Affiliation:
University of Sydney
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Summary

The introduction sets up the book’s theoretical terrain by providing a synoptic history of stylistic virtue from Aristotle to the present. It claims that stylistic virtues have typically encoded two ways of thinking about style: a referential one that regards style as an embodiment of underlying character and an autonomous one that sees style as conveying an independent character of its own. It explains that the book’s overarching purpose is to unfold the autonomous conception of style and defends its approach through the analysis of an extended Victorian example (“lightness” in Robert Louis Stevenson's work). It concludes by showing that stylistic virtue offers a fresh conceptual framework for understanding the aesthetic value of fiction in ways not captured by recent work in either ethical or formalist criticism.

Type
Chapter
Information
Stylistic Virtue and Victorian Fiction
Form, Ethics, and the Novel
, pp. 1 - 25
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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