In an important book of evolutionary literary theory, William Flesch argues that we tell stories to exercise our sense of moral outrage. In this essay I try to spell out some of the consequences of his view. First I give an overview of his argument. Then I revisit a major work of fiction—George Eliot's Middlemarch—with his arguments in mind. Eliot's novel also raises issues about the way that narrative connects with emotions, issues that, I argue, illuminate the structure of narrative itself.
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Blakey Vermeule; A Comeuppance Theory of Narrative and Emotions. Poetics Today 1 June 2011; 32 (2): 235–253. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-1162713
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