How well the book succeeds in convincing the reader that a common good ought to act as a basis for evaluating the role of political establishments may be unclear. But there can be little doubt that the work is one of the most important contributions to political philosophy made by any English philosopher, and almost certainly the single most important contribution made by any British idealist. The book has attracted philosophers, sociologists, politologists and others since the day of its appearance, and continues to fuel lively debate today.
The author points to convergences between a phenomenological manner of thinking found in modernist literature and the notion of an ethics and an ethical subjectivity, a subject who exists in an inescapable relation with the world. As the novels acknowledge otherness, there is a rebound effect on the narrative, its structure and sty≤ otherness transforms the narrative itself. In this way, Ulysses, The Waves, and Nightwood indicate a desire to escape from a notion of the subject that contains and controls the world and the other.
By indicating ways in which new conceptions of ethics are made possible within modernism, the author also shows that there are, within modernism, both literary and philosophical texts whose understanding and representation of subjectivity already express and establish crucial aspects of the discourse on ‘ethics’ and ‘ethical subjectivity’ that characterize recent continental philosophy and cultural theory.