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Modernist Fiction and Vagueness: Philosophy, Form, and Language

Modernist Fiction and Vagueness: Philosophy, Form, and Language Quigley. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. 224 p. Megan Quigley’s Modernist Fiction and Vagueness: Philosophy, Form, and Language brings together two concurrent movements in literature and philosophy from the beginning of the twentieth century. In one there is a striving for greater clarity and exactitude — ​n the other, an embrace of linguistic “vagueness.” These tendencies are not, she suggests, directly coextensive with the two realms of activity she addresses: early twentieth-century philosophy includes in her view an openness to the “vague,” at least in William James’s rejection of Charles Sanders Peirce’s search for eventual scientific revelation in favor of contingent usable truth, or in the trajectory of Wittgenstein’s thought toward an acceptance of the evolving, use-driven rules of “language games.” The main philosophical figure characterized as remaining attached to a language of ideal symbolic precision is Bertrand Russell, who propounds this goal as a chief objective of “science.” Russell finds affiliates in the history of literary criticism: Quigley discovers his influence in T.S. Eliot’s concern with the containing power of “structure,” including the famous precept of the “objective correlative.” She also links the logical-positivist trend to the wider endeavors of the Cambridge literary critics in the advocacy of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Literature Duke University Press

Modernist Fiction and Vagueness: Philosophy, Form, and Language

Comparative Literature , Volume 69 (3) – Sep 1, 2017

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright � Duke Univ Press
ISSN
0010-4124
eISSN
1945-8517
DOI
10.1215/00104124-4164489
Publisher site
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Abstract

Quigley. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. 224 p. Megan Quigley’s Modernist Fiction and Vagueness: Philosophy, Form, and Language brings together two concurrent movements in literature and philosophy from the beginning of the twentieth century. In one there is a striving for greater clarity and exactitude — ​n the other, an embrace of linguistic “vagueness.” These tendencies are not, she suggests, directly coextensive with the two realms of activity she addresses: early twentieth-century philosophy includes in her view an openness to the “vague,” at least in William James’s rejection of Charles Sanders Peirce’s search for eventual scientific revelation in favor of contingent usable truth, or in the trajectory of Wittgenstein’s thought toward an acceptance of the evolving, use-driven rules of “language games.” The main philosophical figure characterized as remaining attached to a language of ideal symbolic precision is Bertrand Russell, who propounds this goal as a chief objective of “science.” Russell finds affiliates in the history of literary criticism: Quigley discovers his influence in T.S. Eliot’s concern with the containing power of “structure,” including the famous precept of the “objective correlative.” She also links the logical-positivist trend to the wider endeavors of the Cambridge literary critics in the advocacy of

Journal

Comparative LiteratureDuke University Press

Published: Sep 1, 2017

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