Susan Haack’s essay (in New Literary History 36, 2005) uses The Way of All Flesh to explore the ideal of intellectual integrity, though characterizations of its absense and failures in literature. She identifies a particularly pernicious failure, in which one hides from oneself that one is not actually inquiring in good faith – or, in which one pretends first of all to oneself that one is trying to find the truth, when in fact one is indifferent to it. She uses the shock and dismay of the main character’s dawning realization to make us also come to realize just how much sham and pretence there is in everyday life, and in particular right where it should not be: among those who supposedly devote their lives to the pursuit of truth. The essay draws on a diverse range of historical sources – including a surprising quote from Hitler.
University of Northumbria
University of York