Bringing together eight previously published essays by M. W. Rowe and a substantial new study of Larkin, this book emphasizes the profound affinities between philosophy and literature. Ranging over Plato, Shakespeare, Goethe, Arnold and Wittgenstein, the first five essays explore an anti-theoretical conception of philosophy. This sees the subject as less concerned with abstract arguments that result in theories, than with prompts intended to induce clarity of vision and psychical harmony. On this understanding, philosophy looks more like literature than logic. Conversely, the last four essays argue that literature is centrally concerned with truth and abstract thought, and that literature is therefore a more cognitive and philosophical enterprise than is commonly supposed.

chapter 1|21 pages

Goethe and Wittgenstein

chapter 2|24 pages

Criticism without Theory

chapter 3|27 pages

Wittgenstein’s Romantic Inheritance

chapter 4|19 pages

Arnold and the Socratic Personality

chapter 6|22 pages

Lamarque and Olsen on Literature and Truth

chapter 7|17 pages

The Definition of ‘Art’

chapter 8|17 pages

Poetry and Abstraction

chapter 9|38 pages

Larkin’s ‘Aubade’