Once-Told Tales

Once-Told Tales : An Essay in Literary Aesthetics

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Drawing comparisons with other art forms, this book examines the role of aesthetic features in silent reading, such as narrative structure, and the core experience of reading a novel as a story rather than a scholarly exercise. * Focuses on the experience of the art form known as the novel * Uses the more common perspective of a reader who reads to be told a story, rather than for scholarly or critical analysis * Draws comparisons with experience of the other arts, music in particular * Explores the different effects of a range of narrative approaches
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Product details

  • Hardback | 216 pages
  • 161 x 237 x 21mm | 512g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0470657677
  • 9780470657676
  • 1,739,231

Back cover copy

Human beings are captivated by stories. In the modern world we consume fiction as literature, at a huge rate--but what is at the heart of the experience of the novel, of silent reading?

Philosophers of art have traditionally focused on a reading experience in which novels are read, re-read, savored, and studied in depth. In this book, Peter Kivy looks at the more common experience of a reader who reads a novel just once, or who, if he does read it again, does so for the same reason that he read it the first time: to be told a story. This is not the reading experience of the scholar or critic but that of the average reader, and it represents an engagement with the age-old experience of story-telling that is bound up with the very beginnings of humanity.

Drawing comparisons with other art forms, this book examines the role of aesthetic features, such as narrative structure, in silent reading, and pursues the experiential core of what it is to read a novel: a tale once told.
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Table of contents

Preface. 1. What it s All About. 2. The Aesthetics of Literature: A Neglected Topic. 3. The Aesthetic Property: Its Kinds and Its Kind. 4. The Ethical, the Aesthetic, and the Artistic. 5. Structure Aesthetics and Novelistic Structure. 6. Continuous Time and Interrupted Time. 7. Seeing is Believing. 8. Reading is Believing. 9. Twice-Told Tales and More. Appendix: Paraphrasing Poetry. References. Index.
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Review quote

Kivy is to be warmly commended for the originality and insight of his perspective on literature, and for the lively and engaging manner in which that perspective is developed. Philosophers interested in the complexity and significance of our reading experience will welcome this valuable contribution to our understanding of such matters. (Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 14 February 2012) "Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students and above." (Choice, 1 December 2011)
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About Peter Kivy

Peter Kivy is Board of Governors Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University and a past president of the American Society for Aesthetics. He is author of The Possessor and the Possessed: Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, and the Idea of Musical Genius (2001), Introduction to a Philosophy of Music (2002), The Performance of Reading (Wiley-Blackwell, 2006), Music, Language, and Cognition: And Other Essays in the Aesthetics of Music (2007), and Antithetical Arts: On the Ancient Quarrel Between Literature and Music (2009), and editor of The Blackwell Guide to Aesthetics (Blackwell, 2004).
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