The Ohio State University at Newark

Ohio State Newark Professor to Discuss Our Emotional Connection to Literary Characters

November 25, 2019

Remember how you felt when Severus Snape used the killing curse on Albus Dumbledore, sending him falling to his death from the top of a Hogwarts tower. You may have felt angry, sad, confused and even shed a few tears. Dana Munteanu, associate professor of classics/Latin, will underline similarities between the classical and modern ways of engaging with literary narratives and identify practical implications of our fascination with fictional characters at an upcoming Faculty Talks Outside the Box lecture on Thursday, December 5 at 4 p.m. in room #175 of the John L. and Christine Warner Library and Student Center.

“When we feel these types of emotions over a fictional character, we often wonder why we feel deeply disturbed by the death of a favorite book or television character but can’t seem to connect to a real-life human tragedy,” said Munteanu.

She will discuss how literary narratives produce this effect on us through several features, including issues related to our personal safety, our proximity to characters and engagement with their narratives, and our emotional immersion into stories.

“Examining our responses to literature and art is usually included under a very narrow field of philosophy, ‘aesthetics.’ But what if understanding why we become attached to fictional characters and events can help us uncover secrets about the human mind that could be applied to social change? My talk suggests that changing the ways we talk about the world, making our narratives more artistically compelling and closer to literary stories, can transform our relationships to other human beings in the real world,” said Munteanu.

During Faculty Talks Outside the Box, Ohio State Newark professors discuss recent research in their fields as it relates to our community and answer questions. All talks are free and open to the public. The Warner Center is located at 1219 University Drive, Newark, Ohio.

The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that is inclusive of diversity, challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State’s more than 200 majors. It’s where learning comes to life. Research, study abroad and service-learning opportunities prepare students for their careers in ways they never expected.