Good and Evil

Margaret Breen, Author

Good and evil have existed throughout human history, and humanity has been attempting to come to grips with the idea of them for just as long. Literature has always provided a powerful medium for the study of good and evil, allowing for the questioning, resisting, and refiguring of good and evilon the levels of content and form. Literature’s effects are not only intellectual but also sensuous, and they can be immediate as well as long-lasting; unexpected and surprising. Literature engages us with ourselves, with each other, and with the world beyond us, and even when other means for understanding experience cannot. Accordingly, literature can provide a forum in which individuals can grapple with their personal questions on good and evil, experiencing them in scenes and characters they might never physically encounter. Literature – the telling of stories – also provides a crucial vehicle for memory, advocacy, and resilience. It can empower marginalized and oppressed groups, whose voices may well be silenced within other cultural and social contexts, with a crucial vehicle for the articulation of social justice issues.This volume in the Critical Insights series presents a variety of new essays on the perennial theme. Works discussed include King Lear; Paradise Lost; Maus; The Scarlet Letter; Jane Eyre; The Picture of Dorian Gray; The Farming of Bones; Train to Pakistan; Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Good and Evil book cover