Fiction as Social Catalyst: Background information when reading Good Kings Bad Kings

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Good Kings Bad Kings

by Susan Nussbaum

Good Kings Bad Kings
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  • First Published:
    May 2013, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2013, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Bob Sauerbrey

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Fiction as Social Catalyst

In 2012, Susan Nussbaum won the PEN/Bellwether for Socially Engaged Fiction. This award, which was established in 2000 by Barbara Kingsolver, was created to "promote fiction that addresses issues of social justice and the impact of culture and politics on human relationships." The award is given to an author of a not yet published novel that typifies its principles. The award also raises some fascinating questions. What is the place of literature in addressing social issues? Can literature be an effective catalyst for social change? Can literature enlighten us about the potential dangers or benefits of scientific, aesthetic, or moral/ethical re-visioning of our place on the Earth and of our responsibilities within that?

Much fiction, intended for pure enjoyment, will not change our worldview or our way of seeing ourselves. The simple pleasure of a good read is a legitimate function of fiction and is even necessary in the hectic world we live in. However, other literature asks us to ...

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