Peter Brooks, The Chameleon Poet and the Ethics of Reading (C4E Public Lecture)

Public Lectures, Ethics & the Arts

My understanding of an “ethics of reading” stands more with John Keats’ “chameleon poet” than with his “virtuous philosopher.” Starting from my reaction to the U.S. “torture memos” (post 9/11), I explore what an ethics of reading might mean, and what is peculiar to the literature classroom. I then pursue the idea by way of the concept of a literary “character”: how we have learned to reach fictional persons, why we want and need them, and what kind of an ethical investment they propose to readers. Among a number of examples, that of Proust will be crucial here.

Peter Brooks
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholar, Comparative Literature and University Center for Human Values

Princeton University

co-sponsored by:

Centre for Comparative Literature, University of Toronto



Wed, Apr 4, 2018
04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility
1 Devonshire Place