Novels are to entertainment what orange juice is to Coca Cola – a wholesome alternative to modern vices. Or at least, that’s how we think of them now. But long before television and videogames, or before comic books and D&D, novels were the new and scary form of entertainment. They were accused of corrupting the youth, of planting dangerous ideas into the heads of housewives, and of distracting everyone from more serious, important books. In this episode, we explore the roots of anti-novel hysteria, and explore what impact it really did have on us.
• Host Jason Feifer’s new novel, which he wrote with his wife Jen: Mr. Nice Guy
• “Too Much Reading is Harmful” by Angelo Patri (1938)
• Plato’s Phaedrus, containing the much-misunderstood passage on writing
• Novel Reading: A Cause of Female Depravity, The Monthly Mirror 1797
• John Harvey Kellogg and Florence Nightinggale comparing novels to liquor and opium
• Memoirs of the Bloomsgrove Family (1790)
• Thomas Jefferson worries about children reading novels
• Theme music by Caspar Babypants.
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