An interesting preview in the Boston Globe of Jonathan Gottschall’s new book, Graphing Jane Austen, which surveys some recent studies looking at the role fiction plays in society, most of which seek to determine why/how stories are ‘good’ for us. Which sounds a bit lame, I know, especially given how much the conclusions depend on what stories are being told (and how). The studies in question don’t tell us anything we don’t already know – storytelling appears to have two primary ‘benefits': it instills empathy for others and can act as “social glue’ by promoting shared values. The values themselves…

Read More »