Such Stuff as Dreams

Such Stuff as Dreams : The Psychology of Fiction

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Description

Such Stuff as Dreams: The Psychology of Fiction explores how fiction works in the brains and imagination of both readers and writers. * Demonstrates how reading fiction can contribute to a greater understanding of, and the ability to change, ourselves * Informed by the latest psychological research which focuses on, for example, how identification with fictional characters occurs, and how literature can improve social abilities * Explores traditional aspects of fiction, including character, plot, setting, and theme, as well as a number of classic techniques, such as metaphor, metonymy, defamiliarization, and cues * Includes extensive end-notes, which ground the work in psychological studies * Features excerpts from fiction which are discussed throughout the text, including works by William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Kate Chopin, Anton Chekhov, James Baldwin, and others
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Product details

  • Paperback | 290 pages
  • 166 x 227 x 16mm | 424g
  • Wiley-Blackwell
  • Hoboken, United States
  • English
  • 1. Auflage
  • 0470974575
  • 9780470974575
  • 434,856

Back cover copy

When we read fiction, we mentally create events and scenes from thewords offered on the page by the author. Why is this such apleasurable experience?

Such Stuff as Dreams: The Psychology of Fiction exploreshow fiction works in the brains and imagination of both readers andwriters. Drawing on an idea originally developed by a variety ofhistorical literary figures including William Shakespeare, in thisground-breaking work Oatley richly illustrates how fiction is notsimply a slice of life, pure entertainment, or an escape fromeveryday reality. While it does indeed incorporate many of theseelements, at its core fiction represents a guided dream, a modelthat readers construct in collaboration with the writer. Thiswaking dream not only enables us to see ourselves and others moreclearly, but offers us revealing glimpses beneath the surface ofthe everyday world.

The book considers topics such as fiction's ability to createvividly emotive experiences; issues of empathy and identification;creativity and externalizations of the mind utilized by writers ofprose fiction; and the various effects of fiction on individualreaders. Throughout the book, excerpts from fiction are alsofeatured and discussed, including works by William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Kate Chopin, Anton Chekhov, and James Baldwin.Informed by deep scholarly rigor, Such Stuff as Dreams is anilluminating and thought-provoking analysis of the transformativepower of fiction to enter and engage the mind into revealingprofound insights about ourselves and those around us.
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Table of contents

Preface. Acknowledgments. 1 Fiction as dream: Models, world-building, simulation. 2 The space-in-between: Childhood play as the entrance to fiction. 3 Creativity: Imagined worlds. 4 Character, action, incident: Mental models of people and their doings. 5 Emotions: Scenes in the imagination. 6 Writing fiction: Cues for the reader. 7 Effects of fiction: Is fiction good for you? 8 Talking about fiction: Interpretation in conversation. Endnotes. Bibliography. Name Index. Subject Index.
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Review Text

"Such Stuff as Dreamsis a remarkable book in several ways. It stands out by the breadth of the topics covered, extending beyond the reader to also include the writing and the communication about fiction, and by the diversity and richness of the many different concepts and studies brought to bear upon the topic." (JLTonline, 1 July 2014
Review copy sent on 29.05.14 to PsycCRITIQUES
Featured in The Scotsman - 25 July 2011
Featured in The Yorkshire Post - 23 August 2011
Featured in The Guardian - 22 July 2012
Featured in The Independent - 28 August 2012
Featured in The Globe & Mail - 9 September 2011
BBC Radio 4 interview - 7 July 2012
Featured in Times Literary Supplement - 30 March 2012
"Such Stuff as Dreams is a welcome and well-informed foray into a neglected research area. As someone who has thought very hard about the making of fiction as well as the creative engagement with it, Oatley is an excellent guide to the science of an art form whose value, in this brave new world of cognitive neuroscience, is undiminshed. His claim is that fiction, like other art forms, allows us to experience emotions in new contexts, and thus learn more about these emotions and ourselves. His achievement is to show us the many ways in which this is true." (The Psychologist, April 2012)
"Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers." (Choice, 1 January 2012)
"Fiction, according to this cognitive psychologist, is a "dream" or mental "model" or "simulation", and now its effects can be probed with modern scientific techniques . . . Oatley explains with enthusiasm the results of his and others' experiments on readers." (The Guardian, 22 July 2011)
"Keith Oatley's book asks why we read, and what happens to our mind when we do. It is a winning combination of psychology, literary criticism and speculation." (The Scotsman, 30 July 2011)
Review in The Times and The Sunday Times e- paper - 12/07/11.
"Much of the discussion is compelling, and this book could well change the way you read . . . Still, his writing is entertaining and he's tapping into a rich vein, and I hope he will explore the subject further." (New Scientist, 23 July 2011)?
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Review quote

Such Stuff as Dreamsis a remarkable book in several ways. It stands out by the breadth of the topics covered, extending beyond the reader to also include the writing and the communication about fiction, and by the diversity and richness of the many different concepts and studies brought to bear upon the topic. (JLTonline, 1 July 2014 Review copy sent on 29.05.14 to PsycCRITIQUES Featured in The Scotsman - 25 July 2011 Featured in The Yorkshire Post - 23 August 2011 Featured in The Guardian - 22 July 2012 Featured in The Independent - 28 August 2012 Featured in The Globe & Mail - 9 September 2011 BBC Radio 4 interview - 7 July 2012 Featured in Times Literary Supplement - 30 March 2012 "Such Stuff as Dreams is a welcome and well-informed foray into a neglected research area. As someone who has thought very hard about the making of fiction as well as the creative engagement with it, Oatley is an excellent guide to the science of an art form whose value, in this brave new world of cognitive neuroscience, is undiminshed. His claim is that fiction, like other art forms, allows us to experience emotions in new contexts, and thus learn more about these emotions and ourselves. His achievement is to show us the many ways in which this is true." (The Psychologist, April 2012) "Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers." (Choice, 1 January 2012) "Fiction, according to this cognitive psychologist, is a "dream" or mental "model" or "simulation", and now its effects can be probed with modern scientific techniques ... Oatley explains with enthusiasm the results of his and others' experiments on readers." (The Guardian, 22 July 2011) "Keith Oatley's book asks why we read, and what happens to our mind when we do. It is a winning combination of psychology, literary criticism and speculation." (The Scotsman, 30 July 2011) Review in The Times and The Sunday Times e- paper - 12/07/11. "Much of the discussion is compelling, and this book could well change the way you read ... Still, his writing is entertaining and he's tapping into a rich vein, and I hope he will explore the subject further." (New Scientist, 23 July 2011)?
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About Keith Oatley

Keith Oatley is Professor Emeritus of Cognitive Psychology at the University of Toronto. He is the co-author of Understanding Emotions (Blackwell, 2006), the most widely used textbook on this subject, and has written three works of fiction, including The Case of Emily V. (1993), which won the 1994 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Novel.
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Rating details

72 ratings
3.9 out of 5 stars
5 25% (18)
4 47% (34)
3 22% (16)
2 4% (3)
1 1% (1)
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