Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Empathy and the Novel$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Suzanne Keen

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195175769

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195175769.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 23 April 2019

The Literary Career of Empathy

The Literary Career of Empathy

(p.37) 2 The Literary Career of Empathy
Empathy and the Novel

Suzanne Keen

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the history of the use of empathy in novels. It suggests that the reinvention of the novel as a form during the Victorian period might have done something positive in the world by swaying readers' minds rather than activating their passions. The key term in the transformation of novel reading from a morally suspect waste of time to an activity cultivating the role-taking imagination, empathy, appeared in English as a translation of Einfühlung in the early 20th century. This chapter argues that the reputation of narrative empathy is tainted by association with popular technologies for sharing feelings and this may explain why advocates of the ethical benefits of novel reading nearly always insist that great literature best stimulates literary empathy.

Keywords:   empathy, novel, Victorian period, role-taking imagination, Einfühlung, narrative empathy

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .