1st Edition

Truth and Wonder
A Literary Introduction to Plato and Aristotle

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after October 15, 2021
ISBN 9780367564711
October 15, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
208 Pages

USD $32.95

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Book Description

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 focuses 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.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Plato and Aristotle for and as literature  1. Three words: Polis and Logos  Part One: ‘We must not begin by telling a story’: 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

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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 on Holocaust and Genocide studies. He is the author of Brexit and Literature (2018) and Doing English (fourth edition, 2017) and, with Daniel O'Gorman, is the editor of The Routledge Companion to Twenty-First Century Literary Fiction (2018).