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Reading: Teaching and the Ethics of Literature


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Teaching and the Ethics of Literature


Mark Edmundson

University of Virginia, US
About Mark

Mark Edmundson is University Professor at the University of Virginia. His most recent book is Why Write?

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The piece approaches the problem of the political content of books by way of an analogy. It suggests that we see books as teachers. We should consider them as similar to the human beings who have taught us the most in life. Those teachers will offer many good things, but given that fine teachers are almost always strong and idiosyncratic personalities, they will offer us some lessons that are less than edifying. We shouldn’t throw them out for that. We should sift their lessons and learn from their best. As the Band sings it: You take what you need and you leave the rest.

How to Cite: Edmundson, M., 2016. Teaching and the Ethics of Literature. JOMEC Journal, (10), pp.40–43. DOI:
Published on 23 Dec 2016.
Peer Reviewed


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