The Literary Narrative and Moral Values

  • Ranjan K. Ghosh
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Philosophy book series (BRIEFSPHILOSOPH)


The chapter deals with narrative identity as it is created both in life and in literary work. It is very much the case that our personal identities in life are created by means of narrative wherein one puts together selectively favourable traits of character in an imaginative construal. Selectivity and connectedness of elements are the hallmark of such construal. This goes for the literary work as well which is characterized by a “closed form” and causal interconnectedness among the elements such as personal traits, events and circumstances. The thesis that art making is no different from creating one’s own or other’s identity by means of narrative construction provides an interesting insight into the creative process. A critical appreciation of a literary work does not allow the reader to remain untouched by the moral and ethical dimensions of the narrative. We argue, however, that the moral knowledge that one may glean out from the literary work is only a by-product and does not claim to be in the nature of the essence of the creative work. Aesthetic experience of the literary work must supervene over any such moral or social message.


Narrative identity Closed form Moral message Anti-essentialism Autonomy thesis 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ranjan K. Ghosh
    • 1
  1. 1.Indian Council of Philosophical ResearchNew DelhiIndia

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