‘The End of Literature, Hegel, and the Contemporary Novel’ by Francesco Campana

Published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2019.

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This book explores the concept of the end of literature through the lens of Hegel’s philosophy of art. In his version of Hegel’s ‘end of art’ thesis, Arthur Danto claimed that contemporary art has abandoned its distinctive sensitive and emotive features to become increasingly reflective. Contemporary art has become a question of philosophical reflection on itself and on the world, thus producing an epochal change in art history. The core idea of this book is that this thesis applies quite well to all forms of art except one, namely literature: literature resists its ‘end’.

Unlike other arts, which have experienced significant fractures in the contemporary world, Campana proposes that literature has always known how to renew itself in order to retain its distinguishing features, so much so that in a way it has always come to terms with its own end. Analysing the distinct character of literature, this book proposes a new and original interpretation of the ‘end of art’ thesis, showing how it can be used as a key conceptual framework to understand the contemporary novel.

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