Further developing the line of argument put forward in his "Literature as
Communication" (2000) and "Mediating Criticism" (2001), Roger D.
Sell now suggests that when so-called literary texts stand the test of time
and appeal to a large and heterogeneous circle of admirers, this is because
they are genuinely dialogical in spirit. Their writers, rather than telling other
people what to do or think or feel, invite them to compare notes, and about
topics which take on different nuances as seen from different points of view.
So while such texts obviously reflect the taste and values of their widely
various provenances, they also channel a certain respect for the human other
to whom they are addressed. So much so, that they win a reciprocal respect
from members of their audience. In Sell’s new book, this ethical interplay
becomes the focus of a post-postmodern critique, which sees literary
dialogicality as a possible catalyst to new, non-hegemonic kinds of
globalization. The argument is illustrated with major reassessments of
Shakespeare, Pope, Wordsworth, Dickens, Churchill, Orwell, and Pinter, and
there are also studies of trauma literature for children, and of ethically
oriented criticism itself.