Introduction: stylistic approaches to narrative empathy

Carolina Fernandez-Quintanilla, Fransina Stradling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article introduces the special issue by outlining the current state of research into the role of textual-linguistic features in eliciting narrative empathy. Firstly, we address the complexities around defining the term ‘narrative empathy’ and provide some definitional criteria. We then review the ways in which the role of language in narrative empathy has been studied to date in narratology, literary studies, empirical study of literature and stylistics. Based on this review, we argue that stylistic approaches allow for the much-needed exploration of specific linguistic techniques that may contribute to narrative empathy, while also taking into account other contextual factors to address the local nature of reading effects. Finally, we summarise how the contributions to this special issue showcase the affordances of stylistic analysis for the study of narrative empathy and offer new insights into the ways narrative empathy is elicited during the reading process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-121
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Literary Semantics
Issue number2
Early online date6 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2023

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