Alison James, Akihiro Kubo, Françoise Lavocat (dir.), Can fiction change the world ?
Can fiction change the world? Does it in fact do so? From Don Quixote’s delusions to Emma Bovary’s romantic daydreams, fiction has often portrayed its own effects in negative terms, while contemporary anxieties about video games or virtual worlds revive ancient fears of the confusion between fiction and reality. Beyond these representations and denunciations, there is ample evidence of the influence of fictional universes on real lives, identities, and social practices.
Drawn from varied cultures and media, the examples studied here include the political fictions of premodern Japan, uses of fiction in legal cases, and contemporary activist fanfiction. They illustrate the effects of fiction at different scales, from the paradoxes of individual emotional response to large-scale collective action.
Alison James is Professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago, Akihiro Kubo is Professor in the School of Humanities at Kwansei Gakuin University, and Françoise Lavocat is Professor of Comparative Literature at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle.
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