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Empathy and the Novel - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Empathy and the Novel

Suzanne Keen


This book presents an account of the relationships among novel reading, empathy, and altruism. Though readers' and authors' empathy certainly contribute to the emotional resonance of fiction and its success in the marketplace, this book finds the case for altruistic consequences of novel reading inconclusive. It offers instead a detailed theory of narrative empathy, with proposals about its deployment by novelists and its results in readers. The book engages with neuroscience and contemporary psychological research on empathy, bringing affect to the center of cognitive literary studies' scruti ... More

Keywords: novel reading, empathy, altruism, neuroscience, psychological research, cognitive literary studies, narrative theory

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2007 Print ISBN-13: 9780195175769
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195175769.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Suzanne Keen, author
Washington and Lee University