Poetic Justice: The Literary Imagination and Public Life
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Poetic Justice: The Literary Imagination and Public Life

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  94 ratings  ·  9 reviews
In Poetic Justice, one of our most prominent philosophers explores how the literary imagination is an essential ingredient of just public discourse and a democratic society.
Paperback, 168 pages
Published April 30th 1997 by Beacon Press (first published 1996)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 267)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I would label Nussbaum a philosopher, but point out her official position as professor of law and ethics. This book's main premise, boiled down, is the importance of a literary/humanities education (and an ongoing one at that) in public life. That, frankly, to be judge (and/or jury really); to be able to act humanely whether in the interests of others, or oneselves; to be, say, someone making decisions that affect all our citizens (hello jackhats in the senate & congress); literature is one...more
I enjoyed this book a great deal. Usually, I find Nussbaum very hard to follow. This book forms a nice corollary to Damasio's work, in that she explores the relationship between emotions and reasoning. At times this book seems to be almost apologetic about what it is proposing. It goes out of its way to not critique the economic utilitarian view. It touches on a more radical vision when suggesting that emotions, if freed of self-serving tendencies, can serve to set in order 'mathematical reasoni...more
Poetic Justice, like Nussbaum's earlier work (a collection of essays) Love's Knowledge is a marriage of philosophy and literature, although this book - which is sort of a long essay, actually - is, as one might guess from its brevity, much more focused. Poetic Justice is, more or less, about literature's role in creating compassionate critical thinkers, and how that makes for a better society.
This is a good book. I liked it for several reasons, most important of which is that it offers a strong defense for why a literary imagination is necessary for the application of law and the excercise of judgment. It is a little preachy and at times I think she tries to hard. Plus, Charles Dickens as an example didn't always work because he can be smarmy. However, the articulation of a thesis wherein we learn emotional intelligence and develop intellectual curiosity through literature is worthy...more
This philosophical treat is a doosey for those not versed in its insular vernacular. It is a defense of literature against the pragmatic, and ultimately economically situated forces that shape our society.

This is no light reading, but it certainly is worthwhile.
A clear and well-reasoned defense of the literary imagination as a way of connecting with both others and the world, and of imagination as a key bridge to social and political action.
Not really good or bad, but thought provoking about what books can do.
The letter of he law is an allegory.
Brooke Bovier
Brooke Bovier marked it as to-read
Jul 21, 2014
Josh marked it as to-read
Jul 18, 2014
Yousaf marked it as to-read
Jul 12, 2014
Roberto marked it as to-read
Jul 07, 2014
Eric Spreng
Eric Spreng marked it as to-read
Jul 04, 2014
Christopher Goins
Christopher Goins marked it as to-read
Jul 03, 2014
Margaret  Kelly
Margaret Kelly marked it as to-read
Jun 18, 2014
Giuliano Giuliato
Giuliano Giuliato marked it as to-read
Jun 14, 2014
Jennifer Harris Smith
Jennifer Harris Smith marked it as to-read
May 23, 2014
Lauraspa marked it as to-read
May 23, 2014
Hannah Herrin
Hannah Herrin marked it as to-read
May 16, 2014
Lakulin marked it as to-read
Apr 10, 2014
Hannah marked it as to-read
Apr 05, 2014
Tim Ellison
Tim Ellison marked it as to-read
Apr 04, 2014
Vocisconnesse marked it as to-read
Mar 29, 2014
Adam marked it as to-read
Mar 28, 2014
Sarah Coughlon
Sarah Coughlon marked it as to-read
Mar 23, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Professor Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, appointed in the Philosophy Department, Law School, and Divinity School. She is an Associate in the Classics Department and the Political Science Department, a Member of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies, and a Board Member of the Human Rights Program. She is the founder and...more
More about Martha C. Nussbaum...
Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities The Fragility of Goodness: Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions Sex and Social Justice Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach

Share This Book