Escapist Literature

“literature is not isolated from the social and cultural framework in which it is set, but takes an active part in constructing it. Literature has a socializing, acculturating function. It can topple regimes and spark changes in ways of thinking that reverberate down generations. …

I think that escapism is probably the most important literary development in recent times. It is properly not an end unto itself, it is a mode, a hook, a literary device to draw readers in. Literary fiction has always seemed unapproachable because it often deals with heavy topics: the human condition, war, slavery, inequality, the like – all within the confines of mundane existence; a mirror unto the imperfections of our own reality. Many people don’t like that. Escapism replaces that reality with one in which we actually want to live in, and thus makes literature accessible. Escapism is not incompatible with literature-as-mirror or literature-as-agent-of-change. In fact, far from being the great enemy of traditional affective literature, it may be its greatest emerging ally, combating the evil forces of reality TV, celebrity gossip and the always-on camera recording the lives of the Kardashians. That is because escapist fiction can, at its best, act as a cradle for good stories and good literature. If the thought of escaping to a world where you can ride broomsticks and cast spells introduces kids to the wonders of reading and good storytelling (and a life of literacy afterward), more power to escapism.”


SpyWriter Jack King, author of Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault and The Fifth Internationale


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