On the Compulsion and Seduction of Mystery Tales
From the History of Literature Podcast with Jacke Wilson
For tens of thousands of years, human beings have been using fictional devices to shape their worlds and communicate with one another. Four thousand years ago they began writing down these stories, and a great flourishing of human achievement began. We know it today as literature, a term broad enough to encompass everything from ancient epic poetry to contemporary novels. How did literature develop? What forms has it taken? And what can we learn from engaging with these works today? Hosted by Jacke Wilson, an amateur scholar with a lifelong passion for literature, The History of Literature takes a fresh look at some of the most compelling examples of creative genius the world has ever known.
Jonah Lehrer, author of the new book Mystery: A Seduction, A Strategy, A Solution joins Jacke for a special October talk about the science and art behind this beloved literary genre.Beloved by adults and children alike, it’s hard to imagine a genre with a more universal appeal. But what makes mysteries so compelling? What is it about mysteries—and human beings, for that matter—that makes mysteries so seductive? And how do authors like Shakespeare and J.K. Rowling turn the mechanics of mystery into the highest art?