The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Literature is an in-depth examination of literature through a philosophical lens, written by distinguished figures across the major divisions of philosophy. Its 40 newly-commissioned essays are divided into six sections:

  • historical foundations
  • what is literature?
  • aesthetics & appreciation
  • meaning & interpretation
  • metaphysics & epistemology
  • ethics & political theory

The Companion opens with a comprehensive historical overview of the philosophy of literature, including chapters on the study’s ancient origins up to the 18th-20th centuries. The second part defines literature and its different categories. The third part covers the aesthetics of literature. The fourth and fifth sections discuss the meaning and consequences of philosophical interpretation of literature, as well as epistemological and metaphysical issues such as literary cognitivism and imaginative resistance. The sixth section contextualizes the place of philosophy of literature in the "real world" with essays on topics such as morality, politics, race and gender.

Fully indexed, with helpful further reading sections at the end of each chapter, this Companion is an ideal starting point for those coming to philosophy of literature for the first time as well as a valuable reference for readers more familiar with the subject.

part I|64 pages

Historical Foundations>

chapter 1|10 pages

Ancient Beginnings

ByStephen Halliwell

chapter 2|17 pages

Philosophy of Literature in the Eighteenth Century

ByPaul Guyer

chapter 3|10 pages

Philosophy of Literature in the Nineteenth Century

ByAllen Speight

chapter 4|13 pages

Twentieth-Century European Philosophy of Literature

ByKristin Gjesdal

chapter 5|12 pages

Analytic Philosophy of Literature

ByKristin Boyce

part II|96 pages

What Is Literature?

chapter 6|16 pages

The Idea of Literature

ByM.W. Rowe

chapter 7|14 pages

The Novel

ByRobert Chodat

chapter 8|10 pages


ByAnna Christina Soy Ribeiro

chapter 9|10 pages

Reading Plays as Literature

BySusan L. Feagin

chapter 10|10 pages

Popular Fiction

ByAaron Meskin

chapter 11|10 pages


ByTed Nannicelli

chapter 12|10 pages

Evolutionary Approaches to Literature

ByStephen Davies

chapter 13|14 pages

Canon and Tradition

ByStein Haugom Olsen

part III|118 pages

Aesthetics and Appreciation

chapter 14|10 pages


ByMatthew Kieran

chapter 15|11 pages


ByPaisley Livingston

chapter 16|11 pages


ByPeter Lamarque

chapter 17|10 pages

Literary Style 1

ByWolfgang Huemer

chapter 18|12 pages


ByEileen John

chapter 19|17 pages


ByGarry L. Hagberg

chapter 20|13 pages


ByJohn Gibson

chapter 21|12 pages

The Paradox of Fiction

ByDamien Freeman

chapter 22|10 pages

Fiction and Negative Emotions

ByE. M. Dadlez

chapter 23|10 pages

Neuroscience and Literature

ByWilliam P. Seeley

part IV|68 pages

Meaning and Interpretation

chapter 24|10 pages


ByNoël Carroll

chapter 25|11 pages

Narrative Understanding

ByDaniel D. Hutto

chapter 26|11 pages


ByNoël Carroll

chapter 27|10 pages


ByStephanie Ross

chapter 28|11 pages

The Poetic Imagination

ByErnie Lepore, Matthew Stone

chapter 29|13 pages

Metaphors in Literature 1

ByElisabeth Camp

part V|84 pages

Metaphysics and Epistemology

chapter 30|10 pages

The Ontology of Literary Works

ByAmie L. Thomasson

chapter 31|13 pages


ByNoël Carroll

chapter 32|10 pages

Fictional Truth and Truth Through Fiction

ByDavid Davies

chapter 33|12 pages

Literary Cognitivism

ByJames Harold

chapter 34|11 pages


ByJonathan Gilmore

chapter 35|14 pages

The Problem of Imaginative Resistance *

ByTamar Szabó Gendler, Shen-yi Liao

chapter 36|12 pages

Literature and “Theory of Mind”

ByGregory Currie

part VI|52 pages

Ethics and Political Theory

chapter 37|18 pages

Literature and Morality

ByA.W. Eaton

chapter 38|11 pages

Literature and Marxism

ByEspen Hammer

chapter 39|12 pages

Literature and Race

ByPaul C. Taylor

chapter 40|9 pages

Literature and Gender

ByMary Bittner Wiseman