Posts Tagged: empathy


The Rumpus Interview with Robin MacArthur


Robin MacArthur discusses her debut story collection Half Wild, life in rural Vermont, and how narrative—and fiction—is key to reaching across what divides us. ...more

Solmaz Sharif

The Rumpus Poetry Book Club Chat with Solmaz Sharif


Solmaz Sharif discusses her new collection Look, the difference between nearness and similarity, and the level of ownership we have over stories. ...more


The Rumpus Interview with Garrard Conley


Garrard Conley, author of the new memoir Boy Erased, discusses growing up in the deep South, mothers, writing for change, and political delusions. ...more

Charles Bock © Nina Subin

The Rumpus Interview with Charles Bock


Charles Bock discusses his new novel, Alice & Oliver, the challenges of writing from experience, and how art and life can mirror one another. ...more

Rob Roberge AP - Credit Dirk Vandenberg

The Rumpus Interview with Rob Roberge


Rob Roberge talks about his new memoir, Liar, the differences between writing fiction and writing memoir, and why every narrator is an unreliable narrator. ...more

Sunil Yapa by Beowulf Sheehan

The Rumpus Interview with Sunil Yapa


Sunil Yapa discusses his debut novel, Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist, radical empathy, growing up surrounded by politics, and losing the first draft of his novel in Chile. ...more

Toumani Author Photo1

The Rumpus Interview with Meline Toumani


Meline Toumani discusses her debut, There Was and There Was Not, the rewards and risks of writing a political memoir, and what it means to approach a divided past and future. ...more

Matt Bell credit Elijah Tubbs for Scrapper

The Rumpus Interview with Matt Bell


Author Matt Bell talks video games, fiction, nonfiction, politics, empathy, and his new books, Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn and Scrapper. ...more


The Rumpus Three-Way Interview: An Incomplete Catharsis


Carmiel Banasky, Alexandra Kleeman, and Matthew Salesses on their new novels, writing from a place of tension, and how our writing changes as we do. ...more

keretEtgar (credit) Yanai Yechiel

The Rumpus Interview with Etgar Keret


Writer Etgar Keret talks about his new memoir The Seven Good Years, the early criticism he faced as a writer, and the surreal that is always waiting. ...more


The Rumpus Interview with Kate Walbert


Author Kate Walbert talks about her new novel, The Sunken Cathedral, about the way cities change over time, and her approach to using footnotes in fiction. ...more

“Yes. Of course. But yet. Anyway.”


Harper’s Magazine interviews Leslie Jamison about her debut, home-run collection of essays, The Empathy Exams: Essays. On the complications (and yet! necessity) of empathy, Jamison writes:

So there’s a lot of danger attached to empathy: it might be self-serving or self-absorbed; it might lead our moral reasoning astray, or supplant moral reasoning entirely.


Reading Makes You Better At Life


A degree in English may make your job search harder, but it makes empathy and social interaction easier, according to a study conducted by some people who had more practical majors.

The study, published in Science, found that literary fiction like Dostoevsky or Louise Erdrich enhanced subjects’ ability to read others’ emotions more than did popular fiction or “nonfiction that was well-written, but not literary or about people.”

Erdrich’s take on the matter: “This is why I love science….[They] found a way to prove true the intangible benefits of literary fiction….Thank God the research didn’t find that novels increased tooth decay or blocked up your arteries.”


Who Gets to Write the Review?


“The book review page is an odd cultural territory, often inhabited by such hybrid creatures — unlike their contemporaries in other disciplines, where the lines between critic and artist are more pronounced.”

All readers are book critics, but disseminating literary opinions to the masses is only part of the job description for some of us.


One More Thing That Literature Is Good For


A few weeks ago, I went to a dermatologist to have something on my nose removed. He said less than two sentences to me, asked me one question he didn’t listen to the answer to, ignored my protests, had a nurse hold me down, stuck a large needle in my nose with no warning, and then dug the thing out with a scalpel even though the anesthesia was barely working.