Professor Dominic Rainsford
During his time in the UK, Professor Rainsford will be working to complete a book on literature, ethics and quantification. The starting point for his project is the observation that numbers are used incoherently in public discourse, for example in politics and the media, in relation to issues of moral concern, reflecting an irreducible difficulty that we all have in trying to quantify, and thus give relative importance to, both bad things and good things that happen in our own lives and to those around us. The major claim is that pragmatic, statistical and philosophical thought about this question not only can but must be supplemented by forms of literariness. This claim is worked out through discussion of a wide range of texts and genres, from Renaissance tragedy, through the Victorian novel, to contemporary poetry, both within and beyond English-language traditions.