I remember trying some years ago to persuade a certain lobster fisherman I know that fiction has value. A recent Boston Sunday Globe article has left me feeling validated.
Washington & Jefferson College’s Jonathan Gottschall writes, “Fiction seems to be more effective at changing beliefs than nonfiction, which is designed to persuade through argument and evidence. Studies show that when we read nonfiction, we read with our shields up. We are critical and skeptical. But when we are absorbed in a story, we drop our intellectual guard. We are moved emotionally, and this seems to make us rubbery and easy to shape. But perhaps the most impressive finding is just how fiction shapes us: mainly for the better, not for the worse. Fiction enhances our ability to understand other people; it promotes a deep morality that cuts across religious and political creeds.”
Read more here.
As Dickens said in Hard Times, it’s important to make room for Queen Mab among all the hard facts.