23 March 2019, 16:00 - 17:00
For centuries, books have been used to offer solace to the lonely, comfort to the sick, and psychological escape to the incarcerated. More recently, the term ‘bibliotherapy’ has gained growing interest as social and cultural practice. The idea that the book can ‘cure’ has a long, complicated, and sometimes controversial history. This event will give you a brief taste of some of the recent research in English and Creative Writing at The Open University on the broad theme of bibliotherapy, its history and practice from the 19th century to the present, as well as a presentation on immersion and the role of non-realist fiction in bibliotherapy, from researchers (Cattier, Dietz) at Anglia Ruskin University. Through the presentations and discussions in this event, you will discover the different approaches to this topic. These will include the idea of ‘literary caregiving’ (Haslam, 2018) through reading during the First World War; the reading of prisoners of war (King); and that of civilians from the 19th century to the present day (Towheed). You will see the diverse ways in which people have engaged with reading (and writing) for consolation.
Can the book ‘cure’? The answer is not always straightforward, and sometimes not what we would expect. As part of the event, you will have the opportunity to examine the experiences of some readers from the past who have used books (with varying degrees of success) as a form of ‘cure’, as well as share with us your own personal experiences of ‘the book as cure’.
Presented by The Open University and Anglia Ruskin University.
Event is part of Cambridge Science Festival.