L’amour et le point de vue moral dans David Copperfield

Abstract : Love and Morality in David Copperfield In her essay on Dickens’ David Copperfield, entitled “Steerforth’s Arm: Love and the Moral point of View”, Martha Nussbaum maintains that this novel shows that a possible union of love and morality can be achieved, but only by the writing of the novel by the narrator himself, thanks to the “romantic and erotic” love which he bears to the character of Steerforth. In contradiction to Nussbaum, I show that the morality which love offers also characterizes in this novel other forms of (non-erotic) love, including parental, filial and Christian love. I also maintain that Agnes Wickfield is not in this novel the sort of Kantian or impartial spectator that Nussbaum depicts, in such a way that Agnes’ ethical position would be “divergent (as Nussbaum writes) from the one that animates the narrative taken as a whole”. On the contrary, I show that Agnes, through the love which she bears to her father without judging him, precisely illustrates, as well as other characters in this novel, its general ethical position.
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Contributor : Eléonore Le Jallé <>
Submitted on : Friday, January 15, 2016 - 3:12:02 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 3:48:59 PM

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Eléonore Le Jallé. L’amour et le point de vue moral dans David Copperfield . Methodos : savoirs et textes, Savoirs textes langage - UMR 8163, 2015, ⟨10.4000/methodos.4269⟩. ⟨hal-01256924⟩

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