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Timothy O'Leary, Foucault and Fiction: The Experience Book (Continuum)

This monograph develops a unique approach to thinking about the transformative power of literature by drawing upon the much-neglected concept of experience in Foucault's work. For Foucault, an 'experience book' is a book which transforms our experience by acting on us in a particular way. In this book, Timothy O'Leary develops a unique approach to thinking about the transformative power of literature by drawing upon this often neglected concept and applying it to literary texts. Starting from the premise that works of literature are capable of having a profound effect on their audiences, he suggests a way of understanding how these effects are produced.Offering extended analyses of a range of Irish writers, including Swift, Yeats, Joyce, Beckett, Friel and Heaney, O'Leary draws on Foucault's concept of experience as well as the work of Plato, Aristotle, Dewey and Deleuze and recent debates about literature and ethics. Of interest to readers in both philosophy and literature, this study offers new insights into Foucault's mature philosophy and an improved understanding of what it is to read and be affected by a work of fiction.

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