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Chapter 4 - Ethics and Narrative Genre:

Some Illustrative Cases

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 April 2022

Patrick Colm Hogan
Affiliation:
University of Connecticut
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Summary

Just as the second chapter provides a literary development of the relatively abstract first chapter, so too the fourth chapter provides literary developments of the cross-cultural genres treated in the third chapter. Specifically, this chapter considers literary cases of all the prominent, universal genres, examining their implications for ethical evaluation and action. In keeping with the cross-cultural range of these genres, this chapter considers works from different time periods and different regions. It includes discussions of the Bhagavad Gītā, Hamlet, and All’s Well That Ends Well, Yuan period Chinese dramas (The Zhao Orphan and Selling Rice in Chenzhou), as well as more recent fiction and nonfiction from India (Nectar in a Sieve) and Australia (Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence). The longest section develops a particularly detailed interpretation of the sacrificial structure in F. W. Murnau’s film, Nosferatu. I undertake a more extensive development of this analysis to illustrate more clearly the impact of story structure on moral response.

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Literature and Moral Feeling
A Cognitive Poetics of Ethics, Narrative, and Empathy
, pp. 89 - 149
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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