In his treatise “Poetics,” Aristotle posited that literature could enhance mental function and emotional well-being through innovative uses of story. This idea laid dormant for centuries until revived by scholars in the mid-20th century, and further explored by the global academic think tank, Project Narrative. Through collaborations with neuroscientists and psychologists, they have uncovered numerous literary inventions that can have profound effects on human emotions and behavior. A new book, “Wonderworks,” details 25 of these powerful literary inventions, including the well-known plot twist, which has the capacity to stimulate self-transcendent or spiritual experiences.
- Aristotle’s Innovative Insight: Aristotle’s exploration of literature’s psychological benefits hypothesized that literary inventions, made up of various elements of plot, character, and narration, could positively impact mental function.
- Revival and Further Exploration: The Chicago School in the mid-20th century revived Aristotle’s idea, leading to further study in the early 2000s through Ohio State’s Project Narrative. They discovered more literary inventions in various cultures and genres.
- Literary Inventions’ Effects: These inventions have been found to alleviate grief, boost creativity, provide therapy for trauma, spark joy, and even increase the chances of dreams coming true, among other effects.
- “Wonderworks”: A Detailed Guide: Angus Fletcher’s book “Wonderworks” elaborates on 25 powerful literary inventions, explaining how they work and how to use them.
- The Power of Plot Twists: As one example, the literary invention of the plot twist, identified by Aristotle, can induce wonder and spiritual experiences, reinforcing the interconnectedness of storytelling and human psychology.