Reading as Catharsis

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Reading as Catharsis

Post by The44 » December 7th, 2012, 12:50 am

So in one of Nathan's posts, he talked about Writing as Catharsis ... arsis.html, i.e. the ability to resolve or at least slightly relieve anger and grief through writing about them.

So here's the question: is there such a thing as Reading as Catharsis? Does reading about a situation similar to the one you experienced have a similar effect as writing on it? And if so, why?


(p.s. Please leave the title of the book/article, name of the author, and link to a description or sample text if you are citing it as an example)
Some things are never right.

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Re: Reading as Catharsis

Post by Shipple » January 9th, 2013, 10:43 am

I'm sure this isn't nearly as scientific as you want, but sometimes when I'm angry about something, I'll read a book that will make me happy, and when I'm finished reading, I find that I am a happier person and maybe more willing to not be angry with the person I was fighting with. And not being angry is one of the easiest ways to resolve a situation that might still need to be discussed (at least for me).

Also, while I was writing my masters' thesis in electrochemistry, I started just gobbling up up romances. I didn't want to think about anything. I just wanted a nice, happy ending. I think it actually made my life much nicer. I remember my one math professor saying the same thing about watching Spinal Tap over and over again while she was writing her PhD thesis.
"Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much." - J.K. Rowling (an awesome opening line)
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Re: Reading as Catharsis

Post by SunnyE » January 16th, 2013, 2:48 am

I think it absolutely can be. If you read something about a similar stressful situation, you might be able to see the situation you're in from a different perspective. As well as solutions. The story may offer solutions to the problem/situation that you wouldn't have otherwise thought of. That often allows you to let go of the emotions you've been hanging onto. I do think writing is more cathartic to me, just because I can get my particular emotions out through my writing, but everyone is different. Some people just aren't able to fully express themselves that way. In reading, they can release emotion through beautifully written prose/poetry, through well-written stories of overcoming trauma of any kind, through inspirational stories and the like. The important thing is to be open to the release.

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Re: Reading as Catharsis

Post by Beethovenfan » January 16th, 2013, 2:55 am

Music does this for me all the time. I don't see why it couldn't happen with an awesome book that really speaks to you.
"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine."
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

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