Literary Didacticism and Collective Human Rights in US Borderlands: Ana Castillo’s Th e Guardians and Louise Erdrich’s Th e Round House Tereza M. Szeghi Th ere is now a sizable body of scholarship on the relationship between human rights and literature. James Dawes suggests that the work of human rights is largely a matter of storytelling (“Hu- man Rights in Literary Studies”). Joseph Slaughter contends, in turn, that “literary works and literary modes of thinking have played important parts in the emergence of modern human rights ideals and sentiments, as well as in the elaboration of national and international human rights laws” (“Rights” xiii). More specifi cal- ly, in her oft- cited Inventing Human Rights, Lynn Hunt argues that contemporary human rights thought derives from the rise of the epistolary novel, which enabled readers to empathize with people diff erent from themselves by rendering their individual experienc- es in a compelling, broadly understandable fashion. Just as these epistolary novels focused on the individual, so too has the human rights tradition been derived from individualistic Western Enlight- enment thought and foundational Western documents (from the Declaration of the Right of Man to the United States Declaration of Independence). Although much
Western American Literature – The Western Literature Association
Published: Feb 9, 2018
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