Empathy and the Strangeness of Fiction

Publisher : Edinburgh University Press

ISBN-13 : 1474463053

Page : 248 pages

Rating : 4.5/5 from 053 voters

Explores how and why narrative fiction engages empathy, including Theory of MindOffers a broad overview of current scientific work on the effects of fiction-reading on empathy, including Theory of MindProvides an original intervention in the field of literary theory, centring on the reflexive properties of the fictional strangerIncludes stand-alone close readings of three novels by important French authorsThis book studies recent psychological findings which suggest that reading fiction cultivates empathy, encouraging us to be critically reflective, suspicious readers as well as participatory, 'nave' readers. Scott draws on literary theory and close readings to argue that engagement with fictional stories also teaches us to resist uncritical forms of empathy and reminds us of the limitations of our ability to understand other people. The book treats figures of the stranger in Balzac's La Fille aux yeux d'or, Stendhal's Le Rouge et le Noir and Sand's Indiana as emblematic of the strangeness of narrative fiction, both drawing us in and keeping us at a distance.

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