Forthcoming book: “Stanley Cavell: Philosophy, Literature, and Criticism”

We’re very pleased to announce the forthcoming publication (in December, according to the publisher) of Stanley Cavell: Philosophy, Literature, and Criticism (Manchester University Press), a collection of essays edited by James Loxley and Andrew Taylor, based on the conference on Stanley Cavell and Literary Criticism they organized at Edinburgh University in 2008. To visit the press’ webpage for the book, please click here. The essays in this volume look terrific.

Here is the publisher’s description of the book, followed by its table of contents:

Stanley Cavell: Philosophy, literature and criticism is the first book to offer a comprehensive examination of the relationship between the celebrated philosophical work of Stanley Cavell and the discipline of literary criticism. From his consideration of Beckett and Shakespeare in his first book, Must We Mean What We Say? (1969) to the recent autobiographical volume Little Did I Know (2010), Cavell’s philosophical concerns have consistently been grounded in the problems and challenges offered by literary texts. His ways of reading offer an arresting challenge to a critical practice that has been more comfortable, over the years, drawing on continental philosophy for the sources of its self-reflection. In its proximity to those continental concerns, and to some of those continental thinkers, Cavell’s work enters readily into dialogue with current theories of criticism. Yet its quiet resistance to assimilation ensures that old problems and assumptions appear in a significant and productive new light, as more and more philosophers, theorists and critics are coming to realise.

In this volume, the editors have assembled an impressive range of interlocutors who set out to explore the shape and substance of Stanley Cavell’s persistent acknowledgement of the literary as a category in which, and through which, philosophical work can be undertaken. A number of essays address his engagements with modernism, tragedy, and romanticism, while others consider Cavell’s own aesthetic modes as a writer.

Stanley Cavell: Philosophy, literature, and criticism will be of interest to all those who are concerned with the ways in which the reading of literature, and the practice of philosophy, might continue both to influence each other across disciplinary boundaries, and to challenge the internal topographies of those disciplines.


  1. Everyday achievements? Literature, philosophy and criticism in the work of Stanley Cavell (James Loxley and Andrew Taylor)
  2. Undoing the doer: modernist criticism and Cavell’s ‘illustrious’ style (Kevin Lamb)
  3. Stanley Cavell’s modernism (R. M. Berry)
  4. Cavell on the human interest of art and philosophy (Brent Kalar)
  5. A soteriology of reading: Cavell’s excerpts from memory (William Day)
  6. Criticism and the risk of the self: Stanley Cavell’s modernism and Elizabeth Bishop’s (Richard Eldridge)
  7. How tragedy ends (Jay Bernstein)
  8. Princes, frogs and crafted men: storytelling in The Claim of Reason (Áine Kelly)
  9. While reading Wittgenstein (K. L. Evans)
  10. The literal truth: Cavell on literality in philosophy and literature (Timothy Gould)
  11. How to do things with Wordsworth (David Rudrum)
  12. Philosophy/literature/criticism/film (Charles Warren)
  13. Thinking in Cavell: the transcendentalist strain (Joan Richardson)

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