Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2210-4119
  • E-ISSN: 2210-4127
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Now that linguists are beginning to see an element of dialogicality in all language use, there is more scope for a humanized dialogue analysis with ameliorative goals. This can divide its labour between a communicational criticism dealing with the ethics of address, and a mediating criticism dealing with the ethics of response. In the present article, I outline the distinctive features of such an approach, and by sketching a communicational theory of literature (cf. Sell 2000) draw particular attention to the dialogicality arising between literary writers and their audience. From this starting-point, I then examine instances of four different literary genres for the light they can throw on the general ethics of address. Key terms here are “genuine communication”, by which I mean any manner of communication which respects the autonomy of the human other, and “negative capability”, defined by Keats (1954 [1817]: 53) as the capability of “being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason”.


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