The concepts of liberty and responsibility have been dealt with extensively from the perspectives of economics, political theory, philosophy, and religion. But a special kind of insight into man's exercise of liberty and acceptance of responsibility is possible through the device of literature. Literature allows one to consider, reflect on, and attempt to understand the meaning of such abstractions as liberty and responsibility by presenting their dramatic unfolding. This way of approaching classic texts offers a way to connect the world of absolute and particulars and to appreciate how they meet and interact in the interiority of human existence. In this collection of essays, prominent scholars explore the themes of liberty and responsibility as they are intertwined in the great works of Twain, Dostoevsky, James, Warren, Johnson, Shakespeare, and others.
What They're Saying...
"McLean has collected seven essays by literary and political scholars of widely different interests and styles. All, without exception, are well written and full of insight."
— The Weekly Standard
"The belief that literature has been neglected in the study of political freedom has inspired this collection of seven charming essays on classic books… Taken together, these essays show that true liberty is responsible liberty, and that freedom is achieved only in the service of the good. For the individual, this means that freedom is accomplished when reason, with spiritedness, governs the passions."
— Kathleen Arnn, Claremont Review of Books