1st Edition

Attending to the Literary The Distinctiveness of Literature

By Alan Singer Copyright 2024
    144 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    144 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Attending to the Literary: The Distinctiveness of Literature is a foray into current debates about the nature of the literary. What is literary? Is literarity a thing? Are there still aesthetic standards of taste? Is the category of literary aesthetics an obstacle to understanding the uses of literature? What does it mean to count the reading of literature as an experience in its own right? What would be the deficits to human experience without literature?

    Attending to the Literary addresses all of these questions with a view to challenging the notion of literarity as merely representative of experience. On the contrary, Alan Singer shows how literarity is an enacting of experience. Through close readings of an eclectic repertoire of literary sentences – culled from the genres of fiction, poetry, and drama – Singer demonstrates how syntax stages human capacities for attending ever more consequentially to the world of practical experience. These stagings of forms of attention involve readers in the drama of reason-giving and expand the possibilities of rational imagination.

    Attending to the Literary speaks to a broad audience of readers for whom the question "Does literature matter?" remains an urgent intellectual challenge.


    Introduction: Literature as Staging for Human Capacities: Snarling the Allegory

    1. The Mirror of Attention: Affording Literarity
    2. Sense and Sentences: Writing the Prose of the World
    3. Reading for Experience: The Compositional Ethos
    4. The Potentiality of the Reader
    5. Literarity and Possibility




    Alan Singer is Professor Emeritus of English at Temple University. He has written extensively in the fields of literary theory, aesthetics, and the visual arts. His publications include Posing Sex: Towards a Perceptual Ethics (2018) and The Self-Deceiving Muse: Notice and Knowledge in the Work of Art (2010).