When bad people read good fiction, Or, Can fiction really change us?


Mary Gordon sure knew how to bring a festival about often high-minded literature back down to earth! Of course, there were ample references to Jane Austen, Gogol and other canonized writers to keep the literary crowd happy, but she didn’t shy away from questioning whether books written by those authors actually have the ability to make people better human beings. No, the task of literature, Gordon said, is actually to “combat the sound-byte,” to get readers to ponder things, to go beyond black and white, beyond knee-jerk reactions and their opposites.

What better way to start a festival that considers the relationship between faith and writing? Gordon’s talk seemed an effort to infuse an attitude of humility in us as we go on to talk about books and poems and sermons. We cannot overestimate the importance of what we do, we can only hope that something good will come of the seeds we plant.

~posted by Allison


One Response to “When bad people read good fiction, Or, Can fiction really change us?”

  1. I thought Mary Gordon really did an excellen job of setting up the “growth” and “being pushed” which was mentioned by the provost.

    Spectacular opening!

    Looking forward to more!

    Much, much more!

    But… namely… Michael Chabon.

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