Chapter

The Responsibilities of the Writer

Seán Burke

in The Ethics of Writing

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780748618309
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652075 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748618309.003.0002
The Responsibilities of the Writer

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Like writing, reading so often begins in romance and ends in pragmatism. The author would be protected from the effects of the text and the text protected from the effects of its author's life. The ‘risk of writing’ gives the question ‘Who is speaking?’ its perennial urgency. The Socratic practice of asking the poets what they meant amounts to enjoining the poet not only to be a reader, a literary critic, of his or her own work, but also to take ethical responsibility for that work. The Ethics of Writing offers itself as a ‘shadow of the original conception’: these prospects for reading have instead guided the approach to Plato and Nietzsche. In entitling this work The Ethics of Writing, the terms ‘ethics’ and ‘writing’ are used more to delimit than to expand a field of inquiry. Finally, an overview of the chapters included in this book is given.

Keywords: ethics; writing; risk; Socratic practice; Plato; Nietzsche; reading; romance; pragmatism

Chapter.  13371 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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