Blackadder’s Lair

The home of many a cunning plan

Is Good Fiction Immoral?

Adam Greenwood ponders:

Lying is immoral. Fiction doesn’t lie because the author is honest that he’s inventing. (Though sometimes authors can edge up to the line with “autobiographical novels” or Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code or Wolf’s I Am Charlotte Simmons that the author claims is based on research and fact.)

What fiction does do is to seduce the reader into forming attachments to people who don’t exist. Is this immoral? My gut says darn straight it is. And what’s worse is that the best fiction is the most guilty. The more deeply realized the characters, the stronger and more genuine the attachment.

But if fiction is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Any way out of the dilemna?

Adam goes on to offer one solution (which I don’t find particularly plausible), and hints that he has another one in reserve, though he doesn’t say what it is (I have my hunches). My suggestion, for what it’s worth, would be to ask question why one would think that causing the reader to form attachments with non-existent people is immoral.

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April 19, 2008 - Posted by | Literature, Morality

1 Comment »

  1. I’ve responded on Vox Nova. I’m curious about my hunch.

    Comment by Adam Greenwood | April 22, 2008 | Reply


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