Reading ‘Difference’ in Literature: An Ethical Reflection (78076)

Session Information: Literature/Literary Studies
Session Chair: Yi-Chin Shih

Monday, 27 May 2024 12:20
Session: Session 2
Room: Room C (Live-Stream)
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

There is no literature if there is no reader. And if each reading is unique, then it is because each reader is also unique. Proceeding from this, we can understand difference as an ontological condition of human experience: we are always an ‘other’ to another self simply because of the fundamental fact that we exist in the world together, and at once. Our existence then broadly presupposes two relations: a relation with the world, and a relation with other selves. Literature provides for us a site where one can encounter difference. What is in the text can be another culture or another perception of the world. This paper proposes an existential identification (not definition) of literature, namely, the textual practices of reading and writing, and submits an ethical framework of reading difference and otherness in literature, one that is adopted by the discipline of comparative literature. What follows is an inquiry of the ontological status of otherness, different conceptualisations of otherness, and finally, the paper puts forward a philosophy of dialogue. Informed by Merleau-Ponty’s and Sartre’s writings on the perception of the other, Martin Buber’s “I-Thou” relation, and R. D. Laing’s emphasis on ‘experience’, the ethics of engaging with the other presupposes a plural, intersubjective universe. What becomes clear is that the other in the text and the other in the world can be viewed from a similar philosophical understanding of the self, the other, and the world. Such a lens gains radical status in the face of hegemonic forces.

Chinmay Pandharipande, Mount Carmel College, India

About the Presenter(s)
Mr Chinmay Pandharipande is a University Assistant Professor/Lecturer at Mount Carmel College, Bengaluru in India

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00