The Passionate Muse: Exploration of Emotion in Stories

ISBN : 9780199767632

Keith Oatley
224 Pages
146 x 210 mm
Pub date
Apr 2012
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Fiction is based on narratives in which characters act on their intentions and encounter vicissitudes. Readers enjoy entering into the lives of characters, coming to empathize with them as their plans progress or they meet obstacles. Readers enjoy, too, meeting characters with whom they sympathize, and being reminded of emotional episodes in their own lives. Keith Oatley is both a novelist and research psychologist, and so it is not surprising that he has created a hybrid text that alternates between sections of an original short story, One Another, and chapters on the psychology of emotion and fiction. People's enjoyment of stories depends on the emotions they experience as they read, watch, or listen. We human beings are intensely social and it's to imagined social worlds that fiction transports us, enabling us to meet more people and feel for them in many more situations than we could if we lived many lives. In this text, the author explains why people who read a great deal of fiction have better understandings of others than those who tend to read nonfiction. He argues that through fiction, we come to know more about the emotions of others and of ourselves.


One another- Part I
Chapter 1. Enjoyment
One another- Part II
Chapter 2. The suspense of plot
One another- Part III
Chapter 3. Falling in love
One another- Part IV
Chapter 4. Loss and sadness
One another- Part V
Chapter 5. Transformation
One another- Part VI
Chapter 6. Anger and retribution
One another- Part VII
Chapter 7. Other minds
Chapter 8. Reflection

About the author: 

Keith Oatley is professor emeritus of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto. He is the author of six books of psychology and co-author of the textbook Understanding Emotions. He has published over 150 scholarly articles, the majority on the psychology of emotions and the psychology of fiction.

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