Goldstein on Literary Spinoza

Robbie & Rosie bought me Michael Della Rocca’s “Oxford Handbook of Spinoza” as a birthday gift. It was one of those on the book list, but which was a little pricey as an academic textbook, primarily for my interest in the one chapter mentioned previously, so it is great to have the full text of Rebecca Goldstein’s 40 page contribution on “Literary Spinoza” not just the discussion of it in that linked post.

My interest is quite specific, as with the previous post reviewing Rushdie’s “Victory City”, in narrative inspiration for my own writing project. In this case the philosophical content of Melville’s “Moby Dick” is directly relevant to my own 200 year narrative, but of course Goldstein covers many more Spinoza inspired literary sources. Win, win.

As well as Herman Melville, we have George Eliot, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Frederich Holderlin, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Novalis (von Hardenberg), Heinrich Heine, Berthold Auerbach, Matthew Arnold, Erwin Kolbenheyer, Jorge Luis Borges, Bashevis Singer, Bernard Malamud, Zbigniew Herbert, David Ives, Eugene Ostashevsky and Goce Smilevski.


PS – Link to a critical piece by Galen Barry questioning the audience for and the value of Della Rocca’s book.

“Despite the quality of the contributions, I do wonder whom the book is intended for.”

In many ways this criticism is symptomatic of the problem that Spinoza is helping us with. Why should we value object(ive)s as more important than qualities?

PPS – where did I just see another “Novalis” reference?!?

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