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Literature, Culture, and Tolerance

Edited By Andrew R. Murphy, Charles Russel, Jaroslaw Pluciennik and Irena Hübner

Questions of tolerance are as old as human society. In acknowledgment of the crucial importance of tolerance and intolerance in contemporary life, a conference was convened in 2007. The 16 papers included in this volume all have their origins in that conference, which brought together a wide array of over 100 academics from fifteen nations, all interested in furthering discussion on tolerance. The goal of this book is to stimulate further historical and contemporary critical reflection on the foundational philosophical, religious, and cultural value and problematic future of tolerance. The title – Literature, Culture, and Tolerance – emphasizes the interconnections between the social and the artistic, between the political and the literary, in thinking through the phenomena of tolerance and intolerance in the modern world.


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Part IV: Philosophy, Criticism, and Tolerance in the Age of Modernism and Postmodernism 177


Part IV Philosophy, Criticism, and Tolerance in the Age of Modernism and Postmodernism Introduction to Part IV Part IV of this volume builds upon the preceding chapters’ attention to humanis- tic, philosophical, historical, religious, and literary resources for tolerance, and directs our attention to two figures crucial to understandings of both modernism and postmodernism: Friedrich Nietzsche and Mikhail Bakhtin. These two semi- nal thinkers transcend narrow disciplinary boundaries and open up a range of new ways to think about tolerance and the social implications of literary and aesthetic approaches to modern life. Pawel Pieniazek takes up Nietzsche’s complex and richly nuanced meta- physical, epistemological, and anthropological meditations on tolerance and the modern world. While admitting that the term itself — tolerance — occurs rarely in Nietzsche’s work, Pieniazek explores Nietzsche’s epistemological commit- ment to ‘the ironic self–awareness of perspective, which is always finite, ran- dom, and partial,’ as well as his enthusiasm for Greek agonistic pluralism, as potential resources for a theory of tolerance. Pieniazek highlights Nietzsche’s sharp critique of modern nihilism, relativism, and secularized Christian democ- ratic leveling, which led him to perceive modern tolerance as arising out of weakness, ‘a mere illusion of authentic creative freedom.’ Any modern theory of tolerance has to take account of Nietzsche’s critique, suggests Pieniazek, and one might admit the validity of Nietzsche’s diagnosis of modern life without sharing his disdain for the modern practices of tolerance. Danuta Ulicka turns our attention to Mikhail Bakhtin’s reflections on mul- tilinguality, heteroglossia, and hybrid structures...

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