Brené with Dr. Angus Fletcher on Life-Changing Inventions in Literature Brené with Dr. Angus Fletcher on Life-Changing Inventions in Literature
March 10, 2021

Brené with Dr. Angus Fletcher on 
Life-Changing Inventions in Literature

This week I’m talking to Dr. Angus Fletcher, professor and author of Wonderworks: The 25 Most Powerful Inventions in the History of Literature, about the science behind the great writings of authors across time–from Greek tragedies, to Maya Angelou, to Tina Fey. We look at how the technology of literature can nurture democracy, power personal growth, and improve our mental health and well-being. Weaving together library and laboratory research, we discuss how literature actually changes who we are, helps us understand who we are, and teaches us how to think.

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Guest Info

Dr. Angus Fletcher

Photo of Angus Fletcher
Caption: Photo of Angus Fletcher

Angus Fletcher is an award-winning teacher, bestselling author, and one of the world’s foremost scholars on the science of storytelling. He is currently Professor of Story Science at Ohio State’s Project Narrative, the globe’s top academic think-tank for the study of stories; has dual degrees in neuroscience and literature, received his PhD from Yale, taught Shakespeare at Stanford, and has published three books and dozens of peer-reviewed articles on the science of how the writings of Sappho, Maya Angelou, Tina Fey, Elena Ferrante, and other authors can nurture democracy, empower personal growth, and improve our mental health and well-being. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the New York Academy of Medicine, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

He believes that stories are universal in their impact and personal in their origins, so each of us has a unique story to gift the world—and endless stories to discover in others. He’s done story-consulting for projects for Sony, Disney, the BBC, Amazon, PBS, and Universal, and his most recent book, Wonderworks (Simon & Schuster, 2021), has been formally endorsed by some of the world’s most respected psychologists, neuroscientists, doctors, and literature scholars. In it, he explains the secrets to unlocking the hidden powers of your favorite poems, memoirs, novels, and tv shows to boost courage, love, empathy, creativity, hope, and curiosity—and to alleviate grief, loneliness, anxiety, and even trauma.

Dr. Angus Fletcher shares 5 favorite songs. Click to listen now on Spotify
Dr. Angus Fletcher shares 5 favorite songs. Click to listen now on Spotify

Show Notes

Wonderworks: The 25 Most Powerful Inventions in the History of LiteratureWonderworks: The 25 Most Powerful Inventions in the History of Literature by Angus Fletcher takes the blueprints for 25 literary inventions throughout history and explains how each can be viewed as both a narrative and scientific breakthrough. The result is a completely original deep dive through literary history—from Greek tragedy and Shakespeare to Virginia Woolf and Dr. Seuss—examining how each innovation provides us with distinct psychological benefits such as increasing creativity, alleviating trauma, boosting intelligence and elevating happiness.

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