News & Events

 August 17, 2015

Professor Joanna Scott on "The Virtues of Difficult Fiction"

Image by Doug ChaykaJoanna Scott, the Roswell Smith Burrows Professor of English, responds to the query: Who needs fiction? Read full article in The Nation

"Who Needs Fiction? That was the question I saw on signs around Stockholm during a recent visit. The signs were advertising a local museum, but being a novelist, I took the question as a direct challenge. From deep inside the thickets of our Digital Age, with its glorification of quantitative information, I’ve been wondering about the genre that defines itself as an alternative to fact. Complex literary works demand an effort from the reader that is becoming harder to justify, given the sink-or-swim pressures to make profitable products for a global marketplace. Who can blame writers for spending more time ornamenting their Facebook page than revising their manuscript? As entertainment, fiction may offer momentary relief from the stresses of reality. As a source of information, however, made-up stories can’t compete. Who needs fiction when you can see a real Viking ship?" Continue to The Nation

Learn more:
Do you even read, bro? Author and professor makes case for ‘difficult fiction’ via AirTalk, 8/11/15
Connections: The Fiction We Should Be Reading via WXXI, 8/14/15