By Irvin Ehrenpreis
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Extra info for Acts of Implication: Suggestion and Covert Meaning in the Works of Dryden, Swift, Pope, and Austen (The Beckman Lectures, 1978)
The protagonists of this novel are drawn together, despite difIerences of gender, class, age, and race, by three common interests, interests that are counterposed to each other: that of the family (and, by extension, the national collective), that of sexual desire, and that of the political (specifically, liberation politics). The suppression and resurgence of difference under the force of family loyalties, sexual desire, and liberation politics is presented via very precise literary structure, language, and emplotment.
But that pure formula for economic behavior, which l take as my example here, becomes sorely tested when different notions about rationality and reason start to compromise that model, and that splitting apart is evident in the very world of language saturated with the voices of newly enfranchised others. l examine the notion that aU hum an behavior can be understood according to notions of ~eason and rationalityi in chapter 1, "When Otherness Overcomes Reason:' In it l counterpose the powerful fori 22 Introduction mula of "economic behavior" that we find in rational choice theory to the history of literary realism, specifically as it has involved the incorporation of new, diverse, "other" peoples.
In Nuts 34 Chapter One and Bolts for the Social Sciences, his discussions of storytelling and literature provide an important set of observations regarding the goals of rational choice theOl"y, as well as its limitations. He points to both the benefits and dangers of literature (and the kind of thinldng it engages) within the rational choice enterprise. In all cases, Eister's remarks bear on the topic of this chapter. Seeming to echo Aristotle, he gives credit to storytelling for its ability to present the individual with a set of choice options and a particular imaginative space for weighing those choièes: "Storytelling can suggest new, parsimonious explanations.
Acts of Implication: Suggestion and Covert Meaning in the Works of Dryden, Swift, Pope, and Austen (The Beckman Lectures, 1978) by Irvin Ehrenpreis
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