Human Minds and Animal Stories: How Narratives Make Us Care about Other Species by Wojciech Malecki et al. is the first book to investigate the power of stories to raise our concern for animals, which has been postulated across decades by numerous scholars, activists, and writers, including such greats as Thomas Hardy.
The book provides the first empirical evidence that such a power exists and explains the psychological and cultural mechanisms behind it. It does so by presenting the results of over a dozen original experiments that involved thousands of participants, texts representing various national literatures and genres, and the cooperation of an internationally-acclaimed bestselling author, who wrote part of his novel according to our suggestions and later helped us to study its impact on his readers. In this way, our book makes a groundbreaking contribution to the study of relations between literature and the nonhuman world (disciplines such as ecocriticism, animal studies, and other fields in the environmental humanities) as well to the study of how literature changes our minds and society.
Malecki, Wojciech, Piotr Sorokowski, Bogusław Pawłowski, and Marcin Cieński. 2019. Human Minds and Animal Stories: How Narratives Make Us Care About Other Species. New York: Routledge.
Image: Seth Macey