Is literature healthy?

5:30pm - 8:00pm / Wednesday 11th March 2020
Type: Lecture / Category: Department
  • Suitable for: All welcome
  • Admission: Free
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Might literature’s true power be to extend and deepen our experience of both joy and sorrow?

Interest in reading as a force for good, particularly in relation to health, has blossomed in recent years. There is a long tradition, stretching back to the Renaissance and antiquity, extolling the value of literary reading for health. Yet, in what ways is literature good for us? Can it be considered therapeutic? Is it, or should it be, ‘healthy’? Might literature’s true power be to extend and deepen our experience of both joy and sorrow?

Dr Josie Billington will consider these questions in relation to key writers and thinkers in the field and in the context of her recent studies of contemporary reading practices in mental health settings. She will discuss the value of reading for people living with specific mental health conditions (depression, dementia, pain) as well as how literature from across the ages can help broaden and enrich our understanding of human ‘wellbeing’.

Fourth of five FREE Public Lectures in the Arts promoted by the University of Liverpool on the theme 'Beauty, Utility, Time'