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Allen Speight argues that behind Hegel's extraordinary appeal to literature in the Phenomenology of Spirit lies a philosophical project concerned with understanding human agency in the modern world. It shows that Hegel looked to three literary genres--tragedy, comedy, and the romantic novel--as offering privileged access to three moments of human agency: retrospectivity, theatricality, and forgiveness. Taking full account of the authors that Hegel himself refers to (Sophocles, Diderot, Schlegel, Jacobi), Allen Speight has written a book with a broad appeal to both philosophers and literary theorists.
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