Keen, Suzanne: "Narrative Empathy". 26 Oct 2014. Hühn, Peter et al. (eds.): the living handbbook of narratology. Hamburg: Hamburg University Press. http://hup.sub.uni-hamburg.de/lhn/index.php?title=Narrative_Empathy&oldid=2044

Narrative Empathy

Last modified: 8 March 2013

Suzanne Keen

   [1]
1 Definition

[2]
Narrative empathy is the sharing of feeling and perspective-taking induced by reading, viewing, hearing, or imagining narratives of another’s situation and condition. Narrative empathy plays a role in the aesthetics of production when authors experience it (Taylor et al. Taylor, Marjorie et al. (2002–2003). “The illusion of independent agency: Do adult fiction writers experience their characters as having minds of their own?” Imagination, Cognition & Personality 22, 361–80.2002–2003: 361, 376–77), in mental simulation during reading, in the aesthetics of reception when readers experience it, and in the narrative poetics of texts when formal strategies invite it. Narrative empathy overarches narratological categories, involving actants, narrative situation, matters of pace and duration, and storyworld features such as settings. The diversity of the narratological concepts involved (addressed in more detail below) suggests that narrative empathy should not simply be equated with character identification nor exclusively verified by readers’ reports of identification. (Character identification may invite narrative empathy; alternatively, spontaneous empathy with a fictional character may precede identification; Keen Keen, Suzanne (2007). Empathy and the Novel. Oxford: Oxford UP.2007: 169.) Empathetic effects of narrative have been theorized by literary critics, philosophers, and psychologists, and they have been evaluated by means of experiments in discourse processing, empirical approaches to narrative impact, and through introspection.

   [3]
2 Explication

[4]
Nonfictional narrative genres may involve narrative empathy, but most of the published commentary and theorizing on narrative empathy centers on fictional narratives, especially novels and film fiction, and to a lesser degree, drama. Brecht’s disdain for the evocation of audience empathy in favor of estrangement effects has had a lasting legacy, depressing the theorizing of reception in performance studies. Individual dramatists, directors, and actors may nonetheless draw on empathy in the form of motor mimicry; some spectators experience the transactions of feeling states involved in empathy, including real-world motor mimicry and emotional contagion (Zillman Zillman, Dolf (1995). “Mechanisms of Emotional Involvement with Drama.” Poetics 23, 33–51.1995). Individual readers testify to greater or lesser intensities of emotional fusion with nonfictional subjects of autobiography, memoir, and history, contrasted with fictional characters. Whether non-fiction arouses greater or lesser empathy in individuals and in larger populations of readers and viewers is a question for future empirical work. The remainder of this entry focuses on narrative fiction, since empathy is most often discussed in relation to the impact of fictional worlds on readers.

[5]
Narrative empathy differs from two related but distinct phenomena: sympathy and the empathetic aversion that psychologists label personal distress. Sympathy refers to an emotion felt for a target that relates to but does not match the target’s feeling. (“I feel for you” rather than “I feel with you.”) Sometimes called empathetic concern, sympathy may or may not follow on an experience of narrative empathy. While in readers’ narrative empathy shared feeling enables a living reader to catch the emotions and sensations of a representation (in other-directed attention), personal distress caused by unpleasant discordant empathetic sharing results in an aversive reaction (self-directed focus) (Eisenberg Eisenberg, Nancy (2005). “The Development of Empathy-Related Responding.” G. Carlo & C. P. Edwards (eds). Moral Motivation through the Life Span. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 73–117.2005). Extreme personal distress in response to narrative usually interrupts and sometimes terminates the narrative transaction: the distressed responder puts the book down, leaves the theater, or turns off the transmission.

[6]
The psychologists who study narrative empathy in laboratory settings have identified key features of narrative fictional texts, including high levels of imagery inviting mental simulation and immersion, that dispose readers to making subjective reports of being transported or of “having left the real world behind while visiting narrative worlds” (Gerrig Gerrig, Richard J. (1993). Experiencing Narrative Worlds: On the Psychological Activities of Reading. New Haven, CT: Yale UP.1993: 157). The phenomenology of transportation is taken to be a fact of readers’ immersion; Miall explicitly links empathy with immersion (Miall Miall, David S. (2009). “Neuroaesthetics of Literary Reading.” M. Skov & O. Vartanian (eds). Neuroaesthetics. Amityville, NY: Baywood Publishing, 233–47.2009: 240–44). Mar & Oatley argue that “imagined settings and characters evoked by fiction literature likely engage the same areas of the brain as those used during the performance of parallel actions and perceptions” (Mar & Oatley Mar, Raymond A. & Keith Oatley (2008). “The Function of Fiction is the Abstraction and Simulation of Social Experience.” Perspectives on Psychological Science 3, 173–92.2008: 180), an argument that has received experimental support from research in cognitive neuroscience on mirror neurons.

[7]
Since narrative empathy involves sharing feelings as well as sensations of immersion, it is reasonable to inquire into the status of emotions involved in fiction. The evocation of real emotions by fictional narratives, a topic of controversy in philosophy (Yanal Yanal, Robert J. (1999). The Paradoxes of Emotion and Fiction. University Park: Pennsylvania State UP, 9–11.1999), raises the question of the status of “fictional emotions” as opposed to the drivers of narrativity: curiosity, suspense, and surprise (Sternberg Sternberg, Meir (1992). “Telling in Time (II): Chronology, Teleology, Narrativity.” Poetics Today 13, 463–541.1992: 529). Dewey lays the groundwork for discussion of fictional emotions in his broader statement (about all the arts) that “esthetic emotion is native emotion transformed through the objective material to which is has committed its development and consummation” (Dewey Dewey, John (1985). Art as Experience. The Later Works. Vol. 10. J. A. Boydston (ed). Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP.1985: 85). This definition of esthetic emotion allows for a range of feelings, not limited to aesthetic pleasure in form and catharsis. As Yanal later writes, “Whether we are purged, pleasured, or made flexible from emotions matters little. […] Some emoters may aim at catharsis in seeking out fiction, some at affective flexibility, others at pleasurable stimulation. Any of these counts as an end that renders emotion coherent” (Yanal, Robert J. (1999). The Paradoxes of Emotion and Fiction. University Park: Pennsylvania State UP, 9–11.1999: 30). The “paradox of fiction” questions whether genuine emotion can be felt in response to a fictitious character or event (Dadlez Dadlez, E. M. (1997). What’s Hecuba to Him? Fictional Events and Actual Emotions. University Park: Pennsylvania State UP.1997; Hjort & Laver Hjort, Mette & Sue Laver (eds) (1997). Emotion and the Arts. Oxford: Oxford UP.1997). Readers do often become emotionally involved or immersed in fictional worlds, even when they are aware of the illusion of fictionality (Yanal Yanal, Robert J. (1999). The Paradoxes of Emotion and Fiction. University Park: Pennsylvania State UP, 9–11.1999: 11). Some modes of fiction, such as postmodern novels, employ devices such as metalepsis deliberately to disrupt readers’ immersion, but belief in an aesthetic illusion, or realistic representation, is not required for empathy to occur.

[8]
Gerrig (Gerrig, Richard J. (1993). Experiencing Narrative Worlds: On the Psychological Activities of Reading. New Haven, CT: Yale UP.1993) argues that readers naturally experience narrative information as continuous with information gleaned from real experience and thus must exert themselves consciously to regard fictive narratives as fictional. In a follow-up study, Gerrig & Rapp (Gerrig, Richard J. & David N. Rapp (2004).“Psychological Processes Underlying Literary Impact.” Poetics Today 25, 265–81.2004) suggest that real readers must make an active effort to disbelieve the reality of fictive narratives, in contradistinction from Coleridge’s willing suspension of disbelief. Narrative empathy evidences Gerrig’s contention despite the paradox of fictional emotions, for narrative empathy transacts feelings through narrative representations. Readers and viewers can block feeling responses to fiction by reminding themselves of its unreality, but it takes an effort, according to Gerrig & Rapp.

[9]
Narrative empathy can be situated in both authors and readers. Authors’ empathy bears on fictional worldmaking and character creation. It may influence writers’ choices about narrative techniques, evincing a desire to evoke an empathetic response in the narrative audience, even though exercise of these choices does not necessarily imply didactic intentions or a bid for an altruistic response in the real world. That fiction-writers as a group exhibit fantasy empathy (as measured by Davis’s Interpersonal Reactivity Index [Davis Davis, Mark H. (1980). “A Multidimensional Approach to Individual Differences in Empathy.” JSAS Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology 10, 85.1980]) and test higher for empathy than the general population has been demonstrated by Taylor (Taylor et al. Taylor, Marjorie et al. (2002–2003). “The illusion of independent agency: Do adult fiction writers experience their characters as having minds of their own?” Imagination, Cognition & Personality 22, 361–80.2002–2003). At the creative end of the narrative transaction, authors’ empathy is likely a core element of the narrative imagination, though much remains to be discovered about narrative artists’ personalities and practices. Authors’ empathy does not directly correspond to readers’ empathy, arising from, receiving, or co-creating narratives. That is, while authors show signs of engaging in fantasy empathy (Davis Davis, Mark H. (1980). “A Multidimensional Approach to Individual Differences in Empathy.” JSAS Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology 10, 85.1980: 10, 85) when in the process of creating fictional worlds, readers of the resultant narrative may respond with fantasy empathy for their own reasons, not necessarily matching authors’ strategic narrative empathizing (Keen Keen, Suzanne (2008). “Strategic Empathizing: Techniques of Bounded, Ambassadorial, and Broadcast Strategic Empathy.” Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte 82, 477–93.2008: 478–79). As empirical research in discourse processing reveals, individual readers respond variously to narrative texts, depending on their identities, situations, experiences, and temperaments (Keen Keen, Suzanne (2011c). “Readers’ Temperament and Fictional Character.” New Literary History 42, 295–314.2011b).

[10]
Because empathy is a feeling experienced by real people, narrative empathy arises in the process of narrative dynamics, or the movement from beginning to end of the discourse (Richardson Richardson, Brian (2002). “General Introduction.” B. Richardson (ed). Narrative Dynamics: Essays on Time, Plot, Closure, and Frames. Columbus: Ohio State UP, 1–7.2002: 1). Character identification of readers with fictional characters, within and across boundaries of group identification, may influence their experiences of narrative empathy, though it may also precede subsequent character identification (Keen Keen, Suzanne (2007). Empathy and the Novel. Oxford: Oxford UP.2007: 169). Some of the techniques thought to evoke empathetic responses have been described in narratological terms (e.g., free indirect speech, narrative situations, etc.; Keen Keen, Suzanne (2007). Empathy and the Novel. Oxford: Oxford UP.2007: 92–9), though caution should be taken not to oversimplify predictions about the effects of particular narrative techniques, which are protean (cf. Sternberg Sternberg, Meir (1992). “Telling in Time (II): Chronology, Teleology, Narrativity.” Poetics Today 13, 463–541.1982). The empathetic dispositions that readers bring to the text have an impact on the efficacy of particular techniques. For instance, empathetic individuals tend to better grasp the causal relations between narrated events in fiction (Bourg Bourg, Tammy (1996). “The Role of Emotion, Empathy, and Text Structure in Children’s and Adults’ Narrative Text Comprehension.” R. Kreuz & M. S. MacNealy (eds). Empirical Approaches to Literature and Aesthetics. Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 241–60.1996) than those testing low in empathy.

[11]
Specific narrative techniques of fiction and film narrative have been associated with empathetic effects (Keen Keen, Suzanne (2006). “A Theory of Narrative Empathy.” Narrative 14, 209–36.2006: 216). These techniques include manipulations of narrative situation to channel perspective or person of the narration and representation of fictional characters’ consciousness (Schneider Schneider, Ralf (2001). “Toward a Cognitive Theory of Literary Character: The Dynamics of Mental-Model Construction.” Style 35, 607–42.2001), point of view (Andringa et al. Andringa, Els et al. (2001). “Point of View and Viewer Empathy in Film.” W. van Peer & S. Chatman (eds). New Perspectives on Narrative Perspective. Albany, NY: SUNY P, 83–99.2001), and paratexts of fictionality (Keen Keen, Suzanne (2007). Empathy and the Novel. Oxford: Oxford UP.2007: 88–9). Other elements thought to be involved in readers’ empathy include vivid use of settings and traversing of boundaries (Friedman Friedman, Susan Stanford (1998). Mappings: Feminism and the Cultural Geographies of Encounter. Princeton: Princeton UP.1998), metalepsis, serial repetition of narratives set in a stable storyworld (Warhol Warhol, Robyn (2003). Having a Good Cry: Effeminate Feelings and Pop-Culture Forms. Columbus: Ohio State UP.2003), lengthiness (Nussbaum Nussbaum, Martha C. (1990). Love’s Knowledge: Essays on Philosophy and Literature. Oxford: Oxford UP.1990), encouraging immersion or transportation of readers (Nell Nell, Victor (1988). Lost in a Book: The Psychology of Reading for Pleasure. New Haven: Yale UP.1988), generic conventions (Jameson Jameson, Fredric (1981). The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP.1981), metanarrative interjections (Fludernik Fludernik, Monika (2003). “Metanarrative and Metafictional Commentary: From Metadiscusivity to Metanarration and Metafiction.” Poetica 35, 1–39.2003; Nünning Nünning, Ansgar (2001). “Mimesis des Erzählens: Prolegomena zu einer Wirkungsästhetik, Typologie und Funktionsgeschichte des Akts des Erzählens und der Metanarration.” J. Helbig (ed). Erzählen und Erzähltheorie im 20. Jahrhundert: Narratologische Studien aus Anlass des 65. Geburtstags von Wilhelm Füger. Heidelberg: Winter, 13–47.2001, Nünning, Ansgar (2004). “On Metanarrative: Towards a Definition, a Typology and an Outline of the Functions of Metanarrative Commentary.” J. Pier (ed). The Dynamics of Narrative Form. Studies in Anglo-American Narratology. Berlin: de Gruyter, 11–57.2004), and devices such as foregrounding (Miall Miall, David S. (1989). “Beyond the Schema Given: Affective Comprehension of Literary Narratives.” Cognition and Emotion 3, 55–78.1989), disorder, or defamiliarization that slow reading pace (Zillman Zillman, Dolf (1991). “Empathy: Affect from Bearing Witness to the Emotions of Others.” D. Zillman & J. B. Bryant (eds). Responding to the Screen: Reception and Reaction Processes. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 135–67.1991). Most of the existing empirical research on empathetic effects in narration concerns film (Tan Tan, Ed S. (1996). Emotion and the Structure of Narrative Film: Film as an Emotion Machine. Hilldale, NJ: Erlbaum.1996; Zillman Zillman, Dolf (1991). “Empathy: Affect from Bearing Witness to the Emotions of Others.” D. Zillman & J. B. Bryant (eds). Responding to the Screen: Reception and Reaction Processes. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 135–67.1991) although a number of researchers are investigating potentially empathy-inducing techniques using short fiction. Novels and stage drama are least studied empirically (though often theorized about), their length and performance conditions being, respectively, at odds with the current modes of empirical verification.

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3 History of the Concept and its Study

[13]
“Empathy” has often been conflated with its subset, “narrative empathy.” After a brief discussion on empathy, this account focuses on narrative empathy. For a history of the idea under the term empathy (the English translation of Einfühlung, or “feeling into”), emerging out of late 19th-century German psychological aesthetics, see Wispé (Wispé, Lauren (1987). “History of the Concept of Empathy.” N. Eisenberg & J. Strayer (eds). Empathy and its Development. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge UP, 17–37.1987).The projected feeling of empathy involves responses not only to sentient beings, but also to inanimate objects and landscape features. It separates aspects of motor mimicry, emotional contagion, and fusion of feelings from the older term sympathy, “feeling for” or compassion. The literary implications of sympathy have been contested throughout the centuries (Keen Keen, Suzanne (2007). Empathy and the Novel. Oxford: Oxford UP.2007: 37–64). In contemporary philosophy and psychology (Batson Batson, C. Daniel (2011). “These Things Called Empathy: Eight Related but Distinct Phenomena.” J. Decety & William Ickes (eds). The Social Neuroscience of Empathy. Cambridge, MA: MIT P, 3–15.2011), as well as in popular usage, the definitions of empathy and sympathy remain entangled.

[14]
Narrative empathy is often thematized in texts through direct representation of mind-reading “empaths” (Star Trek’s Deanna Troi [Roddenberry Roddenberry, Gene (1987–1994). “Troi, Deanna.” Star Trek: The Next Generation. http://www.startrek.com/database_article/troi. Accessed 20 December 2011.1987-1994], Octavia Butler’s Lauren Olamina [Butler, Octavia (1993). Parable of the Sower. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows.1993]) or discussion of successes or failures of empathy on the part of fictional characters (e.g., the contrast between Ender and Valentine in Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game [Card, Orson Scott (1985). Ender’s Game. NY: Tor Books.1985]). Most usage of the term “empathy” in relation to narrative occurs in 20th-century works of literary criticism (e.g., Hogan Hogan, Patrick Colm (2001). “The Epilogue of Suffering: Heroism, Empathy, Ethics.” SubStance 30, 119–43.2001), especially in reference to Victorian, postcolonial, ethnic, and woman-authored fiction. Commentators on narrative ethics have often linked fictional representation of empathy (or failures of empathy) with empathy experienced by real readers. The situation of an individual reader with respect to authors’ strategic empathizing depends in part on aspects of identity and narration. When readers’ attitudes alter, or when they receive tacit or explicit encouragement to undertake altruistic action on behalf of represented others for whom they feel narrative empathy, the impact can be considered an aspect of ethics in narrative discourse.

[15]
Nussbaum (Nussbaum, Martha C. (1990). Love’s Knowledge: Essays on Philosophy and Literature. Oxford: Oxford UP.1990) argues that narrative empathy resulting from novel reading forms good world citizens. Further, it has been suggested by philosophers and developmental psychologists that experiences of narrative empathy contribute to readers’ moral development (Hoffman Hoffman, Martin (2000). Empathy and Moral Development: Implications for Caring and Justice. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.2000). Some commentators assume that the empathy-altruism hypothesis regarding real-life human empathy and pro-social behavior (Batson et al. Batson, C. Daniel, Nadia Ahmad & David A. Lishner (2009). “Empathy and Altruism.” C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (eds). Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology, 2nd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 417–26.2009) applies to narrative empathy, especially as it helps readers overcome bias (Harrison Harrison, Mary-Catherine (2008). “The Paradox of Fiction and the Ethics of Empathy: Reconceiving Dickens’s Realism.” Narrative 16, 256–78.2008, Harrison, Mary-Catherine (2011). “How Narrative Relationships Overcome Empathic Bias: Elizabeth Gaskell’s Empathy Across Social Difference.” Poetics Today 32, 255–88.2011). Keen criticizes accounts of narrative empathy that insist on moral efficacy as an outcome of reading, arguing that narrative empathy does not often lead to documented altruistic action (Keen Keen, Suzanne (2007). Empathy and the Novel. Oxford: Oxford UP.2007: 145). Patrick Colm Hogan argues that empathy for characters is inseparable from literary reading experiences and suggests that Keen holds narrative empathy to an unreasonably high standard of “moral heroism” (Hogan Hogan, Patrick Colm (2010). What Literature Teaches us About Emotion. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.2010: 267). However, Keen does not introduce the standard, deriving it rather from the discussions of Nussbaum, Hoffman, and others. Even so, empathy may be strategically employed in narrative for purposes of ideological manipulation. The Machiavellian use of empathy is well documented in real life as well as in fictions such as Ender’s Game.

[16]
A contribution to rhetorical narratology, Keen’s theory of narrative empathy elaborates the uses to which real authors/narrative artists put their human empathy to work in imaginative character-creation and in other aspects of worldmaking, as well as theorizing readers’ responses (Keen Keen, Suzanne (2006). “A Theory of Narrative Empathy.” Narrative 14, 209–36.2006). Rhetorical narratology takes an interest in effects on readers, especially with regards to persuasion. While no narrative text consistently inspires empathy in all its readers, who vary in dispositional empathy (Keen Keen, Suzanne (2007). Empathy and the Novel. Oxford: Oxford UP.2007: 89) and in their official and unofficial positions with respect to the text (Goffman Goffman, Erving (1956). The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Edinburgh: U of Edinburgh P.1956), study of the responses of readers belonging to different audiences reveals narrative empathy in action. A subset of narrative empathy, readers’ empathy leads to differentiation in terms of belonging (Keen Keen, Suzanne (2011a). “Empathetic Hardy: Bounded, Ambassadorial, and Broadcast Strategies of Narrative Empathy.“ Poetics Today 32, 349–89.2011a). Bounded strategic empathy addresses members of in-groups. Ambassadorial strategic empathy addresses members of more temporally, spatially, or culturally remote audiences. Broadcast strategic empathy calls upon all readers to experience emotional fusion through empathetic representations of universal human experiences and generalizable responses to particular situations (Keen Keen, Suzanne (2008). “Strategic Empathizing: Techniques of Bounded, Ambassadorial, and Broadcast Strategic Empathy.” Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte 82, 477–93.2008). Narrative empathy designates an affective element of the operations investigated by cognitive narratology. A subset of narrative empathy, readers’ empathy leads to differentiation of readers in terms of their belonging to in-groups addressed directly by authors hoping to evoke empathy.

[17]
Empirical verification of claims made by narratologists about narrative empathy have been investigated in collaboration with specialists in discourse processing (Miall Miall, David S. (2006). Literary Reading: Empirical and Theoretical Studies. New York: Peter Lang.2006) and psychologists who study persuasion and impact (Mazzocco & Green et al. Mazzocco, Philip & Melanie Green et al. (2010). “‘This story is not for everyone’: Transportability and narrative persuasion.” Social Psychology and Personality Science 1, 36–68.2010). Research into narrative empathy in cognitive science has investigated the role of emotions, including empathy, in narrative processing (Mar & Oatley et al. Mar, Raymond A. & Keith Oatley et al. (2011). “Emotion and narrative fiction: Interactive influences before, during, and after reading.” Cognition & Emotion 25, 818–33.2011). Narrative empathy has also been studied in relation to experientiality (Fludernik Fludernik, Monika (1996). Towards a ‘Natural’ Narratology. London: Routledge.1996), immersion (Ryan Ryan, Marie-Laure (2001). Narrative as Virtual Reality: Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP.2001), mental imaging, and altruism (Johnson Johnson, Dan (2011). “Transportation into a Story Increases Empathy, Prosocial Behavior, and Perceptual Bias Toward Fearful Expressions.” Personality and Individual Differences 52: 150–55.2011).

   [18]
4 Topics for Further Investigation

[19]
Keen (Keen, Suzanne (2007). Empathy and the Novel. Oxford: Oxford UP.2007: 169–71) lists twenty-seven hypotheses about narrative empathy that could be further theorized and, in some cases, tested empirically in collaboration with psychologists, social neuroscientists, and experts in discourse processing. Comparison of narrative empathy elicited by drama, film, and non-fiction could supplement existing research on narrative empathy and prose fiction. If a long-term study could be undertaken, longitudinal and comparative studies of groups of real readers would supplement the existing research on the impact of narrative empathy on beliefs and prosocial behavior. In any case, further research into narrative empathy will be best served by cross-disciplinary conversation and interdisciplinary collaboration.

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5 Bibliography

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5.1 Works Cited

  • Andringa, Els et al. (2001). “Point of View and Viewer Empathy in Film.” W. van Peer & S. Chatman (eds). New Perspectives on Narrative Perspective. Albany, NY: SUNY P, 83–99.
  • Batson, C. Daniel (2011). “These Things Called Empathy: Eight Related but Distinct Phenomena.” J. Decety & William Ickes (eds). The Social Neuroscience of Empathy. Cambridge, MA: MIT P, 3–15.
  • Batson, C. Daniel, Nadia Ahmad & David A. Lishner (2009). “Empathy and Altruism.” C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (eds). Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology, 2nd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 417–26.
  • Bourg, Tammy (1996). “The Role of Emotion, Empathy, and Text Structure in Children’s and Adults’ Narrative Text Comprehension.” R. Kreuz & M. S. MacNealy (eds). Empirical Approaches to Literature and Aesthetics. Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 241–60.
  • Butler, Octavia (1993). Parable of the Sower. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows.
  • Card, Orson Scott (1985). Ender’s Game. NY: Tor Books.
  • Dadlez, E. M. (1997). What’s Hecuba to Him? Fictional Events and Actual Emotions. University Park: Pennsylvania State UP.
  • Davis, Mark H. (1980). “A Multidimensional Approach to Individual Differences in Empathy.” JSAS Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology 10, 85.
  • Dewey, John (1985). Art as Experience. The Later Works. Vol. 10. J. A. Boydston (ed). Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP.
  • Eisenberg, Nancy (2005). “The Development of Empathy-Related Responding.” G. Carlo & C. P. Edwards (eds). Moral Motivation through the Life Span. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 73–117.
  • Fludernik, Monika (1996). Towards a ‘Natural’ Narratology. London: Routledge.
  • Fludernik, Monika (2003). “Metanarrative and Metafictional Commentary: From Metadiscusivity to Metanarration and Metafiction.” Poetica 35, 1–39.
  • Friedman, Susan Stanford (1998). Mappings: Feminism and the Cultural Geographies of Encounter. Princeton: Princeton UP.
  • Gerrig, Richard J. (1993). Experiencing Narrative Worlds: On the Psychological Activities of Reading. New Haven, CT: Yale UP.
  • Gerrig, Richard J. & David N. Rapp (2004).“Psychological Processes Underlying Literary Impact.” Poetics Today 25, 265–81.
  • Goffman, Erving (1956). The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Edinburgh: U of Edinburgh P.
  • Harrison, Mary-Catherine (2008). “The Paradox of Fiction and the Ethics of Empathy: Reconceiving Dickens’s Realism.” Narrative 16, 256–78.
  • Harrison, Mary-Catherine (2011). “How Narrative Relationships Overcome Empathic Bias: Elizabeth Gaskell’s Empathy Across Social Difference.” Poetics Today 32, 255–88.
  • Hjort, Mette & Sue Laver (eds) (1997). Emotion and the Arts. Oxford: Oxford UP.
  • Hoffman, Martin (2000). Empathy and Moral Development: Implications for Caring and Justice. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.
  • Hogan, Patrick Colm (2001). “The Epilogue of Suffering: Heroism, Empathy, Ethics.” SubStance 30, 119–43.
  • Hogan, Patrick Colm (2010). What Literature Teaches us About Emotion. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.
  • Jameson, Fredric (1981). The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP.
  • Johnson, Dan (2011). “Transportation into a Story Increases Empathy, Prosocial Behavior, and Perceptual Bias Toward Fearful Expressions.” Personality and Individual Differences 52: 150–55.
  • Keen, Suzanne (2006). “A Theory of Narrative Empathy.” Narrative 14, 209–36.
  • Keen, Suzanne (2007). Empathy and the Novel. Oxford: Oxford UP.
  • Keen, Suzanne (2008). “Strategic Empathizing: Techniques of Bounded, Ambassadorial, and Broadcast Strategic Empathy.” Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte 82, 477–93.
  • Keen, Suzanne (2011a). “Empathetic Hardy: Bounded, Ambassadorial, and Broadcast Strategies of Narrative Empathy.“ Poetics Today 32, 349–89.
  • Keen, Suzanne (2011b). “Readers’ Temperament and Fictional Character.” New Literary History 42, 295–314.
  • Mar, Raymond A. & Keith Oatley (2008). “The Function of Fiction is the Abstraction and Simulation of Social Experience.” Perspectives on Psychological Science 3, 173–92.
  • Mar, Raymond A. & Keith Oatley et al. (2011). “Emotion and narrative fiction: Interactive influences before, during, and after reading.” Cognition & Emotion 25, 818–33.
  • Mazzocco, Philip & Melanie Green et al. (2010). “‘This story is not for everyone’: Transportability and narrative persuasion.” Social Psychology and Personality Science 1, 36–68.
  • Miall, David S. (1989). “Beyond the Schema Given: Affective Comprehension of Literary Narratives.” Cognition and Emotion 3, 55–78.
  • Miall, David S. (2006). Literary Reading: Empirical and Theoretical Studies. New York: Peter Lang.
  • Miall, David S. (2009). “Neuroaesthetics of Literary Reading.” M. Skov & O. Vartanian (eds). Neuroaesthetics. Amityville, NY: Baywood Publishing, 233–47.
  • Nell, Victor (1988). Lost in a Book: The Psychology of Reading for Pleasure. New Haven: Yale UP.
  • Nünning, Ansgar (2001). “Mimesis des Erzählens: Prolegomena zu einer Wirkungsästhetik, Typologie und Funktionsgeschichte des Akts des Erzählens und der Metanarration.” J. Helbig (ed). Erzählen und Erzähltheorie im 20. Jahrhundert: Narratologische Studien aus Anlass des 65. Geburtstags von Wilhelm Füger. Heidelberg: Winter, 13–47.
  • Nünning, Ansgar (2004). “On Metanarrative: Towards a Definition, a Typology and an Outline of the Functions of Metanarrative Commentary.” J. Pier (ed). The Dynamics of Narrative Form. Studies in Anglo-American Narratology. Berlin: de Gruyter, 11–57.
  • Nussbaum, Martha C. (1990). Love’s Knowledge: Essays on Philosophy and Literature. Oxford: Oxford UP.
  • Richardson, Brian (2002). “General Introduction.” B. Richardson (ed). Narrative Dynamics: Essays on Time, Plot, Closure, and Frames. Columbus: Ohio State UP, 1–7.
  • Roddenberry, Gene (1987–1994). “Troi, Deanna.” Star Trek: The Next Generation. http://www.startrek.com/database_article/troi. Accessed 20 December 2011.
  • Ryan, Marie-Laure (2001). Narrative as Virtual Reality: Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP.
  • Schneider, Ralf (2001). “Toward a Cognitive Theory of Literary Character: The Dynamics of Mental-Model Construction.” Style 35, 607–42.
  • Sternberg, Meir (1982). “Proteus in Quotation-Land: Mimesis and the Forms of Reported Discourse,” Poetics Today 3, 107–56.
  • Sternberg, Meir (1992). “Telling in Time (II): Chronology, Teleology, Narrativity.” Poetics Today 13, 463–541.
  • Tan, Ed S. (1996). Emotion and the Structure of Narrative Film: Film as an Emotion Machine. Hilldale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Taylor, Marjorie et al. (2002–2003). “The illusion of independent agency: Do adult fiction writers experience their characters as having minds of their own?” Imagination, Cognition & Personality 22, 361–80.
  • Warhol, Robyn (2003). Having a Good Cry: Effeminate Feelings and Pop-Culture Forms. Columbus: Ohio State UP.
  • Wispé, Lauren (1987). “History of the Concept of Empathy.” N. Eisenberg & J. Strayer (eds). Empathy and its Development. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge UP, 17–37.
  • Yanal, Robert J. (1999). The Paradoxes of Emotion and Fiction. University Park: Pennsylvania State UP, 9–11.
  • Zillman, Dolf (1991). “Empathy: Affect from Bearing Witness to the Emotions of Others.” D. Zillman & J. B. Bryant (eds). Responding to the Screen: Reception and Reaction Processes. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 135–67.
  • Zillman, Dolf (1995). “Mechanisms of Emotional Involvement with Drama.” Poetics 23, 33–51.

   [22]
5.2 Further Reading

  • Breger, Claudia & Fritz Breithaupt (eds) (2010). Empathie und Erzählung. Freiburg: Rombach.
  • Breithaupt, Fritz (2009). Kulturen der Empathie. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
  • Coplan, Amy & Peter Goldie (eds) (2011). Empathy: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford UP.
  • Decety, Jean & William Ickes (eds) (2011). The Social Neuroscience of Empathy. Cambridge, MA: MIT P.
  • Keen, Suzanne (2011). “Introduction: Narrative and the Emotions.” Special Issue, Narrative and the Emotions. Poetics Today 32, 1–53.
  • Oatley, Keith (1994). “A Taxonomy of the Emotions of Literary Response and a Theory of Identification in Fictional Narrative.” Poetics 23, 53–74.

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Since May 1, 2013, the living handbook of narratology (LHN) appears as a CMS-based version under the new address:
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The present wiki-based version remains preserved under the date April, 30, 2013.

Suzanne Keen is Thomas Broadus Professor of English at Washington and Lee University and Past Past President of the International Society for the Study of Narrative (ISSN). Her books include Victorian Renovations of the Novel (1998), Romances of the Archive in Contemporary British Fiction (2001), Narrative Form (2003), and Empathy and the Novel (2007). She guest-edited a double special issue of Poetics Today (2011) on Narrative and the Emotions.

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Keen, Suzanne: "Narrative Empathy". In: Hühn, Peter et al. (eds.): the living handbook of narratology. Hamburg: Hamburg University Press.
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[view date: 26 Oct 2014]


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