Such Stuff as Dreams: The Psychology of Fiction by Keith OatleySuch Stuff as Dreams: The Psychology of Fiction by Keith Oatley

Such Stuff as Dreams: The Psychology of Fiction

byKeith Oatley

Paperback | July 25, 2011

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Such Stuff as Dreams: The Psychology of Fiction explores how fiction works in the brains and imagination of both readers and writers.
  • Demonstrates how reading fiction can contribute to a greater understanding of, and the ability to change, ourselves
  • Informed by the latest psychological research which focuses on, for example, how identification with fictional characters occurs, and how literature can improve social abilities
  • Explores traditional aspects of fiction, including character, plot, setting, and theme, as well as a number of classic techniques, such as metaphor, metonymy, defamiliarization, and cues
  • Includes extensive end-notes, which ground the work in psychological studies
  • Features excerpts from fiction which are discussed throughout the text, including works by William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Kate Chopin, Anton Chekhov, James Baldwin, and others
Keith Oatley is Professor Emeritus of Cognitive Psychology at the University of Toronto. He is the co-author of Understanding Emotions (Blackwell, 2006), the most widely used textbook on this subject, and has written three works of fiction, including The Case of Emily V. (1993), which won the 1994 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best F...
Title:Such Stuff as Dreams: The Psychology of FictionFormat:PaperbackDimensions:290 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.59 inPublished:July 25, 2011Publisher:WileyLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0470974575

ISBN - 13:9780470974575


Table of Contents



1 Fiction as dream: Models, world-building, simulation.

2 The space-in-between: Childhood play as the entrance to fiction.

3 Creativity: Imagined worlds.

4 Character, action, incident: Mental models of people and their doings.

5 Emotions: Scenes in the imagination.

6 Writing fiction: Cues for the reader.

7 Effects of fiction: Is fiction good for you?

8 Talking about fiction: Interpretation in conversation.



Name Index.

Subject Index.

Editorial Reviews

This is the book on emotion and literature that we have been waiting for.  Oatley’s perceptive review of the field and the numerous insights of his own that he develops make this book the richest and most intriguing to appear in a decade.  It will be essential for anyone interested in the processes of literary reading. Written in deceptively simple and elegant prose, accommodating all the complexities within the field and beyond it, Oatley transports his reader from literature to psychology, from Shakespeare to children’s theory of mind, from Eisenstein’s film practices to the theories of ancient Indian poetics.  All these topics and more contribute to illuminating the transformative power of literary fiction for the reader. —David S. Miall, Professor of English & Film Studies and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Literature, University of Alberta, Canada Like the best fiction, this insightful book illuminates fundamental truths about our minds, relationships, emotions, creativity, and how these come together to form stories with lasting impact. It is an engaging, wide-ranging, and scientifically-grounded journey from fiction’s roots in childhood through its continuing role in our lives. Professor Oatley is the perfect guide through the psychology of fiction: he combines the deep expertise of a scholar and the passion of a lifelong reader with a writer’s touch.  This book is a delightful and thought-provoking read for anyone interested in literature, how it works, and why it is so important to the human experience. —Melanie C. Green, Professor of Psychology, University of North Carolina, USA