Recommend to your Librarian

Request a Review Copy

Narrative Humanism

Kindness and Complexity in Fiction and Film

Wyatt Moss-Wellington

Hardback (Forthcoming)

Outlines an approach for reading fictive texts focussed upon the politics of human kindness

  • Provides scholarly resources for evaluating the ethics, politics and psychology of our attempts to capture the complexity of other lives in narrative
  • Offers a critique of post-Foucaultian literary and film theory, demonstrating how it is possible to make the conditions of human altruism (rather than its converse, power relations and exploitation) central to our analytical work
  • Broadens the scope of cognitive media theory, reintegrating some of cognitive science’s formative disciplines
  • Details both a "humanist hermeneutics", a practical guide to performing humanist readings of narrative texts and "social narratology", a taxonomy of the social functions of fiction
  • Demonstrates the use of narrative humanism in two case studies at the level of genre theory (the suburban ensemble film), and close reading (Ron Howard’s 1989 film Parenthood)
  • Distinguishes a narrative-based humanism from related philosophies, including Renaissance humanism and contemporary secular humanism

This book attempts to clarify the narrative conditions of humanism, asking how we can use stories to complicate our understanding of others, and questioning the ethics and efficacy of attempts to represent human social complexity in fiction.

Show more



PART I: Humanist Hermeneutics


CH1: Reading the Human Drama in Film and Fiction 

PART II: Social Narratology 

CH2: Foundational Functions of Fiction

CH3: Affective Functions of Fiction

CH4: Connectedness and Character

CH5: Mental Work and Memory

CH6: Ethics and Conclusions 

PART III: Genre Case Study: The Suburban Ensemble Dramedy 

CH7: An Introduction to the Millennial Suburban Ensemble Film

CH8: Discussions: Affect, Sociopolitics and the Ensemble Narrative 

PART IV: Close Reading Case Study: Parenthood 

CH9: Parenthood: A Humanistic Close Reading



About the Author

Wyatt Moss-Wellington is an Assistant Professor in Media and Communication Studies at The University of Nottingham, Ningbo. He has recently published work in journals including Projections, Style, Sydney Studies in English and Film International. He received his PhD from The University of Sydney in 2017. Moss-Wellington is also a progressive folk multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter.

You might also like ...