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.
Dr. 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.
Wonderworks: 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.
Brené Brown Education and Research Group, LLC, owns the copyright in and to all content in and transcripts of the Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead podcasts, with all rights reserved, including right of publicity.
WHAT’S OK: You are welcome to share an excerpt from the episode transcript (up to 500 words but not more) in media articles (e.g., The New York Times, LA Times, The Guardian), in a non-commercial article or blog post (e.g., Medium), and/or on a personal social media account for non-commercial purposes, provided that you include proper attribution and link back to the podcast URL. For the sake of clarity, media outlets with advertising models are permitted to use excerpts from the transcript per the above.
WHAT’S NOT OK: No one is authorized to copy any portion of the podcast content or use Brené Brown’s name, image or likeness for any commercial purpose or use, including without limitation inclusion in any books, e-books, book summaries or synopses, or on a commercial website or social media site (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) that offers or promotes your or another’s products or services. For the sake of clarity, media outlets are permitted to use photos of Brené Brown from her Media Kit page or license photos from Getty Images, etc.CLICK TO CONTINUE