From Library Journal
Nussbaum (ethics, Univ. of Chicago) describes the social purposes of the realistic novel, using concepts of empathy and identification to explain the worlds of Hard Times, Native Son, and Maurice. She writes out of the multicultural, feminist, and liberal traditions and calls for a value-based judgment of economic and social development. Nussbaum works through a theory of private emotions, showing how they pertain to and influence public actions. The heart of her inquiry concerns the use of literary feelings and techniques to enlighten and inform legal reasoning. She considers questions of race, class, and gender as important aspects of public policy. This would make a fine selection for this election season. Recommended for public and academic libraries.?Gene Shaw, NYPL
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Timely and urgent. . . . Ms. Nussbaum's appeal to the outlook of fiction as a model for judicial and social policy is bracingly utopian and immensely heartening. --Morris Dickstein, The New York Times Book Review
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"No one has made a better case for the importance of literary and humanistic education to the public life of the nation. Martha Nussbaum's new book should be required reading for every member of Congress." --Stanley Fish, author of Professional Correctness: Literary Studies and Political Change
"Nussbaum argues elegantly that the novel, by engaging our sympathy in the contemplation of lives different from ours, expands our imaginative capabilities so we may better make those judgments that public life demands of us. . . . Nussbaum's thesis . . . deserves to be shouted from the rooftops-like Whitman's Song of Myself." --Kirkus Reviews
"Nussbaum fascinatingly argues that the so-called 'reasoning mind' has blinded us from that all-too-obvious aspect of being a human animal-our emotions." --Raul Nino, New City
"Nussbaum is one of our profound contemporary thinkers. . . . We do not know whether or not reading novels really does make people more humane [but] here is the strongest argument yet published." --Keith Oatley, Toronto, Ontario Globe & Mail