On Reading Well, Karen Swallow Prior. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2018.
Summary: Makes a case that the reading of great literature may help us live well through cultivating the desire in us to live virtuously and to understand why we are doing so.
Karen Swallow Prior wants us to heed John Milton’s advice to “read promiscuously” great works of literature because they may help the reader distinguish between vice and virtue, and hopefully choose the latter. In doing so, Prior advances an argument contrary to most of contemporary literary criticism that argues against the purpose of teaching literature to form moral character, perhaps most famously argued in Stanley Fish’s Save the World on Your Own Time (review). Prior argues that great books do set before us not only examples of vice and virtue but help us see the telos or purpose or end of living a virtuous…
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