A Video Talk
Literature has always had the power to change – just think of the impact of the King James Bible, Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, Dr Johnson’s Dictionary, Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, Marx’s The Communist Manifesto and Betty Friedan’s The Feminist Mystique. And yet fiction too has the power to change – to evoke sympathy, to make us take on different opinions, and even to bring about political and legal change.
This talk examines ten novels that altered our world, when it came to race relations, charity, the shape of literature, and the plight of the poor and the different.
Discover which novels have had universal impact and be encouraged to think about which books you would select as having in some way brought about enormous change.
“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”
― Malala Yousafzai, ‘I Am Malala’
There are books that have changed attitudes to women like The Women’s Room, attitudes to animals like Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty which argued for better treatment of working horses. There are books that have argued for change in the treatment of the poor such as Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. There are books that have made us think about violence, poverty, drugs, such as Go Ask Alice, about nature versus nurture, such as Goldings’ Lord of the Flies. There are books that have done wonderfully creative things in fiction, such as Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy which was incredibly modern when it was published in the 18th century. It can be seen as leading a direct path to James Joyce’s Ulysses, and Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse.
Authors have given us new modes of writing and hence new modes of thinking. There is no doubt that fiction brings change by giving us the chance to walk in the shoes of another person, to emphasize with those who are different from us in some way. To understand history because we enter it through a story, to speculate on the future if we read science fiction. To make us travel to lands we might never get to in real life and to experience other cultures. Fiction, I think, lets us try on another life for size.
Reading novels can change us. And if enough people read fiction and experience it in different ways then there is no doubt that novels can change our world.
At just $15 this Video Talk is a real treat! Taken from a live-streamed presentation, it has been carefully recorded and completely edited to deliver the experience of being part of an audience and having the best seat in the house. It includes over 60 minutes of intriguing stories about authors and books to help you understand the power of fiction. It is illustrated with photographs, paintings, scenes from different film versions and book covers – you’ll have plenty to look at while you listen.
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Just $15. Buy it now – you’ll receive access details by return email.
COMING SOON. This video talk will be available from 1st December 2021. Please check back here then.
I believe that novels do have the power to change the world – through storytelling and imagination. What do you think? Can you add a novel to my list? I’m interested to hear, so please tell me in a comment.