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The Power of Story

Posted by on Aug 26, 2013 in Writing | 1 comment

“No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.” – Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass.   So beseeches the Gryphon to Alice – and with plenty of history and evidence to support his plea. Aristotle claimed that reading fiction (i.e. the epics of Homer, Sophocles, and Euripides) is a more serious business than history. He argued that history tells us what has happened, whereas fiction tells us what might happen, which stretches our imaginations and gives us insight into ourselves and others. More recently, Martha Nussbaum, author of Poetic Justice, writes that reading fiction puts us in the role of sympathetic spectator and helps make us better citizens in relation to issues such as justice in society. She argues that what we really mean by justice is not simply applying the rules...

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