In Tracy Lyn Bealer, Rachel Luria & Wayne Yuen (eds.), Neil Gaiman and Philosophy: Gods Gone Wild! Open Court (2012)

Greg Littmann
Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
The chapter is a comparison of Platonic and Aristotelian conceptions of artistic value in literature, with particular focus of the appropriate role of the divine and supernatural. The issue is explored through the lens of Neil Gaiman's popular fantasy novel, American Gods. It is argued that Aristotle’s less restrictive model of literary value better allows literature to benefit us as human beings. In particular, Aristotle's appreciation of the need for dark themes and counter-factual portrayals of the universe allows for much richer art. The discussion of Platonic and Aristotelian conceptions of art is demonstrated to be relevant to modern artistic debate though consideration of how their views apply to modern fantasy literature.
Keywords Literature  Plato  Aristotle  Aesthetics
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