Why do people respond emotionally to fiction when they know that it is only make-believe? This question which is fundamental to aesthetics and literary studies, is here tackled from a new perspective. The author first discusses the various answers that have been offered by philosophers formAristotle to Roger Scruton. He shows that while some philosophers have denied any rational basis to our emotional responses to fiction, others have argued that the emotions evoked by fiction are not real emotions at all. In contrast, Dr Boruah argues that fictional emotions are rational, and thatthey are based on the same sorts of beliefs that we form about real situations and real people. He illustrates his discussion throughout by an extensive use of literary examples, ranging from Shakespeare to Tolstoy.