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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Literature as Scientific Endeavor

In the Sunday New York Times Book Review, Walter Kirn reviews James Wood's new book How Fiction Works.  According to Kirn, Wood views literature as a scientific endeavor to credibly capture human nature.  It seems to me that there is a growing strain of legal thought that tries to do something similar.  See, e.g., here, here, and here

Here are Kirn's words:

His essential point is this: Novels and short stories succeed or fail according to their capacity (a capacity that has progressed over the centuries rather like the march of science) to represent, affectingly and credibly, the actual workings of the human mind as it interacts with the real world. The mind and the world, as Wood defines them, are dependable, fixed phenomena, for the most part, possessed of natural, intrinsic qualities that fiction writers in their ink-stained lab coats measure, prod, explore and seek to illustrate using a rather limited range of instruments that can be endlessly adjusted.

Posted by Adam Kolber on August 19, 2008 at 08:52 AM in Books | Permalink


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