Reckless Innocence, Non-Anger and Forgiveness: Moral Knowledge in Penelope Fitzgerald's Fiction

Visser, I., Jun-2020, In : Brno Studies in English. 46, 1, p. 261-277 16 p.

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This essay contributes to the currently limited academic scholarship on Penelope Fitzgerald’s fiction by exploring affective interpersonal relationships as central themes in her novels Innocence (1986) and The Beginning of Spring (1988). I draw on Martha C. Nussbaum’s philosophical work, in particular her recent publication Anger and Forgiveness (2016), to shed light on the arresting and unconventional ways in which Fitzgerald’s fiction dramatizes and often subverts commonly held notions of innocence, anger, guilt and forgiveness. This essay argues that Fitzgerald’s art as a novelist is particularly evident in the subtle and ironic manner in which she presents arresting moral insights. Nussbaum’s philosophical explorations of moral knowledge provide the theoretical framework that clarifies these innovative and thought-provoking aspects of Fitzgerald’s work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-277
Number of pages16
JournalBrno Studies in English
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2020


  • Penelope Fitzgerald; affect; Martha Nussbaum; moral philosophy; contemporary literatur

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