What is literature for? The role of transformative reading

Olivia Fialho, Anezka Kuzmicova
2019 Cogent Arts & Humanities  
The question of what literature is for-if there is a purpose-is not new. Since the beginning of literary theory as a field of study, the debate has been long and complex and is still ongoing. This article offers a reflection on the concept of purpose in the development of literary theories up to the advent of the cognitive turn in the twenty-first century, when empirical studies of literary reading began to proliferate. The paper argues that discussions on the question of purpose have changed
more » ... pose have changed from no purpose to pragmatic and later to more existential purposes. It places transformative reading in the center of this debate and reflects on the results of the series of empirical studies conducted so far. The paper focuses on the implications and uses of transformative reading in social contexts. It concludes by discussing how empirical work in this area suggests new conceptual distinctions that could contribute to theorizing about purpose in literary studies more generally. It also indicates what lies ahead in terms of challenges while pointing at new research directions.
doi:10.1080/23311983.2019.1692532 fatcat:ifxtw5nrprdk3kh6n4sofaghru