1st Edition

Truth and Wonder A Literary Introduction to Plato and Aristotle

By Robert Eaglestone Copyright 2022
    212 Pages
    by Routledge

    212 Pages
    by Routledge

    Truth and Wonder is an accessible introduction to Plato and Aristotle, showing their crucial influence for literary and cultural studies, modern languages and related disciplines. It focusses on both what Plato and Aristotle say about literature and how they say it, and so demonstrates the ways their philosophies still shape our reading, thinking and living.

    In the clear and engaging style for which he has become known, Robert Eaglestone uses Plato and Aristotle’s literary qualities to explain their thought. He presents Plato’s ideas through the metaphors, stories and style of his dialogues, and Aristotle’s ideas through the significance of narrative. Truth and Wonder draws on a wide range of thinkers including Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida and Martha Nussbaum, and a number of canonical writers including Phillip Sidney, Percy Shelley, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and Iris Murdoch with examples that will be familiar to students.

    The ideas of Plato and Aristotle underlie much of Western culture, continue to inspire contemporary literary and philosophical work and shape the case for the central importance of the humanities today. Truth and Wonder is essential reading for students and researchers in the study of literature, theory and criticism as well as for those wishing to understand the foundations of the field. It will also be of interest to those studying philosophy, classics and political theory. Its accessible style and approach also mean it’s a perfect starting point for any literary-minded person who wants to know more about these two foundational thinkers.

    Introduction: Plato and Aristotle for and as literature  1. Three words: Polis and Logos  Part One: ‘WHat is truly written in the soul’: Plato  2. Plato’s literary devices  3. Watching The Republic  4. Responding to The Republic  5. Living and dead words: Phaedrus  6. A hermeneutic dialectic? Ion, Protagoras  Part Two: ‘The lover of stories is a lover of wisdom’: Aristotle  7. Reading Aristotle, from beginnings to ends  8. How to live: happiness, the virtues and literature: Nicomachean Ethics  9. Everyday People: The Rhetoric  10. Patterns of Literature, patterns of life: the Poetics  11. But what, after all, is entertainment? The pleasures of literature: The Poetics  Conclusion: Starting


    Robert Eaglestone is Professor of Contemporary Literature and Thought at Royal Holloway, UK, and has published widely on contemporary literature and literary theory, contemporary European philosophy and Holocaust and Genocide studies. He is the author of Doing English (fourth edition, 2017), editor of Brexit and Literature (2018) and co-editor, with Daniel O’Gorman, of The Routledge Companion to Twenty-First Century Literary Fiction (2018).

    'Everyone ought to know something about Plato and Aristotle. Robert Eaglestone explains why this is especially so for students of literature and carefully guides them through the key ideas of these two giants of Greek philosophy. Accessible, engaging, and highly recommended.' Dr John Sellars, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK


    'Robert Eaglestone doesn’t just advocate a literary approach to Plato and Aristotle, his own book enacts a literary philosophy. His writing brims with meaningful metaphors and scenes captured from everyday life and elevated to profound conceptual contemplation….His own gift is to urge us to study literature with Plato and Aristotle and to put us back in touch with literature’s truth and its wonder.' Professor Miriam Leonard, UCL, UK


    'Robert Eagletone's wide-ranging and compellingly written book introduces Plato and Aristotle to the literary reader, showing not only how poets have drawn on ancient philosophy in the centuries since but also how the philosophers themselves can be open to a literary critical analysis. In other words, they can be read against the grain… These kinds of questions and conversations are provoked by the open-ended, intellectually generous nature of Truth and Wonder and I'm sure it will stimulate many interesting discussions to come.'  Professor Jennifer Wallace, Cambridge University, UK


    'The book beautifully illustrates the importance of thinking hard about what Plato and Aristotle have to say about literature while also thinking hard about how they say it – by reading their works ‘as if literature’.' Professor Genevieve Liveley, University of Bristol , UK