The Moral of the Story

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At the New York Times, Alice Gregory and Pankaj Mishra discuss the role of moralism in the novel—and conclude that authors should seek to question and provoke rather than preach:

Not only does moral preoccupation corrupt the artfulness of fiction, but fiction is an inefficient and insincere vehicle for moralizing. If an author’s motive is to impart a lesson, he would be better off writing a manifesto or publishing a pamphlet and distributing it free on the subway.


Katie O'Brien is an English major at Cornell University, where she writes for kitsch magazine, DJs for a rock station, and complains about the cold. Find her on Twitter @abluekite. More from this author →