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Responsible fiction

Annabel Lyon, author of the short-story collection Oxygen and the new three-novella collection The Best Thing for You, ponders the relationship between literature and ethics in a recent column for Geist magazine. On one side of the debate is academic Martha Nussbaum, who extracts the “ethical juices” from a variety of classical and more recent texts, and on the other is former U.S. judge Richard Posner, who argues that literature has no ethical relevance whatsoever. Annabel Lyon herself is somewhere in the middle. This is her last word: “We take a risk when we close our eyes to the ‘lessons’ of great literature. We risk, at our peril, forgetting what tragedy is.”

Related links:
Annabel Lyon on literature and ethics