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What is philosophical literature?

Question:

What is philosophical literature?

True Novels:

Leo Tolstoy was excited to write his first real novel: Anna Karenina. However, Tolstoy had already written the acclaimed War and Peace, yet Tolstoy refused to call it a novel. Nowadays, War and Peace is classified as a philosophical novel.

Answer and Explanation:

Philosophical literature is comprised of works of literature (often novels) that heavily explore philosophical concepts in their themes.

While many novels explore philosophy through plot and character, philosophical novels might well devote whole chapters to different treatises. For example, Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov contains a section called "The Grand Inquisitor" which, in text, is a philosophical dilemma raised by one of the novel's characters (Ivan Karamazov). Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace also contains large sections devoted solely to philosophical musings, to the extent that Tolstoy did not consider War and Peace a proper novel.

Philosophical novels exist in literary traditions across the world, as well as many different genres. For example, Hermann Hesse was German and Swiss, and his Demian is a bildungsroman, Japanese Osamu Dazai's No Longer Human is semi-autobiographical, American Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is science fiction. Additionally, philosophical novels can address various philosophies: Dostoyevsky's often explore existentialism, Franz Kafka's explore nihilism, Simone de Beauvoir's feminism, etc.


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Connecting Literature to Other Art Forms

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Chapter 2 / Lesson 4
45K

Analyze the relationship between art and literature. Explore the shared elements of music, visual arts, and painting to determine whether literature is also art.


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