A question on individual narratives and normativity

Do you live with or without novels? If you live without, why are you not interested in the life of individuals others than you?

If you live with, what do you think you would loose if you lived without?

Try to explain how individual narratives (either legal cases or literary stories) can have an impact in other people’s lives and ideas of normativity.

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29 thoughts on “A question on individual narratives and normativity

  1. Christian Gatto says:

    I really like reading and the genre I prefer is the novel.
    Unfortunately, because of my high school, I think I am very poor in terms of classic readings, or at least those that are universally read by all. In fact, I studied accountancy, and this type of studies doesn’t provide the study of subjects such as Latin, Philosophy or English Literature. In addition, the study of Italian Literature was mostly a theoretical approach based on the author’s thought instead of reading author’s works.
    As a result, I developed a greater passion for fantasy novel and love stories, literary genres that aren’t so heavy, so I can escape from everyday reality. For me, it’s essential to read every day about ten pages before going to sleep.
    However, fantasy genre offers examples of works that hide a lot of meanings.
    For example, “The Lord of the Rings” (written form 1937 to 1949) is defined by his author J.R.R. Tolkien as “a fundamentally religious and catholic work”. We can find in it themes like hope, mercy, providence and compassion.
    But the value that emerges more than the others is humility. The Middle-earth is saved by hobbits, which are the creatures the no one would have imagined able to fulfill this extraordinary enterprise. Hero of this book is the last of the last, Sam.
    Another fantasy book with many references to Christianity is “The Chronicles of Narnia” (written by C.S. Lewis from 1950 to 1056), in special way the second book of the series, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”.
    This book has a lot of similarity with the Gospel, especially the character of the Lion Aslan, which is a representation of Christ, who died as a result of Edmund’s betrayal and then rise again.
    I am aware that in my personal library lacks many essential readings, and I think I can start with “War and Peace”.

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  2. Corinna Canale says:

    I truly like novels and I couldn’t do differently. As a curious person, I think that every kind of novel (besides the fact that clearly I have my favorite genres) has its teachings to give. Obviously I’m talking about any appreciable work (not necessarily modern Divine Comedies of course!), that is something that can at least gift us some pleasant hours to spend with. Living with novels, not strictly books but also everything which tells a story, as good movies, tv series, songs and so on, as a human being that can live just one life, to me it seems that those works contribute to make me live different experiences, go through different actions, feeling different emotions that maybe I wouldn’t know and felt without those books/movies/etc. Living without those works, a single man maybe would have the opportunity to live just one life, his one, preventing to compare himself with other significant opinions, that is preventing himself to see the world from different points of view. And maybe I think that not comparing our own opinion with the ones of other people, our mind couldn’t either appreciate fully the variety of our world or have a full-open mind to understand and respect different realities. But of course it’s just my opinion, I don’t want to offend anyone with this!
    A second point, of course, can be the moral of certain works, that can make us reflect about our reality, our condition, our beliefs and so on. I can bring the clear example of one of my favorite books, “Nineteen Eighty-Four” by Orwell: terribly actual as a book, it upset me for days after I finished it. It clearly makes you reflect about a society that, for Orwell, was a dystopian future but in my opinion (obviously exasperating) could be applied to nowadays one as well. Here the moral is completely pessimistic but my point is that it’s clear that the aim of the book is, condemning the totalitarianisms, to teach us something, to warn people of a reality that, in 1948, was a forecast (overstated) of the author about a society which was becoming more and more depersonalized and repressed.
    And because of all these things, I think that narrative can efficiently impact in others’ lives. For example, books addressed to a huge percentage of people give the author an enormous power, a powerful weapon that he has to influence lives of people, perhaps instilling an idea, or an ideal, or a behavior which can become something generally appreciated or thought as “the way of being” for a certain sector of life. Same is with the idea of normativity: if the writer is brilliant enough, with his works he can influence the thoughts of people: he can make a speech, describe a story, write a song, but if the topic is strong enough, believed enough and it lets people empathize with it, the reality itself can change. I can bring back the example of Nineteen Eighty-Four and of the dystopian universe it describes: if we identify with Winston we can see through his eyes that sick world depicted by Orwell. As I said before, that’s still actual for certain points: I’m the demonstration that my normative point of view has been influenced by that novel itself.

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  3. Margot Laurent says:

    I love reading, and always have. It helps me escape from day-to-day little problems, and also really helps me sleep (I’ve been struggling with insomnia problems for quite a long time).
    I love the fact that, by reading, you increase your vocabulary and, obviously, cultural knowledge.
    My favorite genre is novels, even though I also read a few historical books and biographies.

    I’m always amazed to see that a book is influenced by its author’s culture. Even when two books speak about the same subject, a book written by a South American author and a book written by an European or American author will be completely different.
    I’ve lived for a year in Argentina, and as I was trying to improve my knowledge of Spanish, I read “Las venas abiertas de América Latina”, a beautiful and very profound book written by Eduardo Galeano (Uruguayan author) about the history of colonization. It’s actually more a historical book than a novel (even though it’s got some elements of the novel’s genre), but my point is that the “same book”, written by an European author, would have been completely different.

    I think I’d find it very hard to live without novels. To the question “What would you lose if you didn’t read novels?”, I’m not sure what to answer.
    Novels allow you to escape, for a while, from reality – way more, according to me, than other genres.
    I love watching movies, and going to the movie theater is one of my greatest joy. However, watching a good movie can make you think, but doesn’t encourage your imagination. On the opposite side, reading a novel allows to imagine the characters’ physical appearance and the places described; nothing is really “imposed”.
    And of course, reading novels gives you great pleasure. I think everybody knows the feeling you have when you’re reading a good book before going to bed, and every time you begin a new chapter you think to yourself “this is the last one, then I need to sleep”, but you actually can’t seem to stop.

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  4. Riccardo Ciarlone says:

    I think it is a choice to live with or without reading novels. In my school career (but even apart from it) I read novels who sincerely didn’t let me sign and other novels instead were fundamental for me and impressed me greatly. There are novels that not only, as it is wont to say, are intended to expand horizons and help the memory, but also that they gave a turning point (from a social point of view) to our country. “Ragazzi di vita” written by Pier Paolo Pasolini and “Una storia semplice” by Leonardo Sciascia, are two novels I’ve read in the last year of school and that, in my opinion, they have this social function. The contribution of these two works is evident: both are two “literary photographs” of our country in different contexts.
    Pasolini’s novel tells the social degradation, post war, a outskirts of Rome where drug, trafficking, theft, robbery and prostitution of boys (an issue that caused a lot of criticism and was censored, although article 21 of our constitution would protect the freedom of expression) because of the tragic economic conditions, characterize the lives of these guys. This novel is the result of a true “reportage” through which Pasolini felt with his own hands the outskirts of Rome. He became the spokesman of this social unease, a discomfort that, after 60 years since the publication of this novel, still characterizes the Roman suburbs and not only.
    Instead Scascia tells a tragic social phenomenon: the Sicilian crime, the conspiracy of silence which is a basic element of the Mafia and especially the “connection” between the Mafia and the institutional and political figures that they do nothing to change the direction of the situations. A “connection” that reminds the infamous “negotiations between the state and the Mafia” which is featuring the latest periods of time.
    So are two novels that have a big impact to readers because narrate events really happened, unfortunately, real phenomenon and present them to us in fictional form, but real! So a “picture” of our country, with a message: to change what is possible to change and sometimes you can do, starting from the reading of novels such as those mentioned.

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  5. Gennaro Di Martino says:

    Whitin the humanities, literature has always played a fundamental role. Already during the ancient age, Calliope, the one that inspired Homer and that was cited in the Dante’s comedy, was considered the most important muse. In Reinassance age, printing played a key role for the dissemination of books and culture among the people: first of all it contributed to the disclosure of the Holy Bible, leding to the cleveage of the Christian Church. Nowadays to value the cultural level of a Country, it’s important to take as reference its level of literacy (e.g. the ability of writing and reading).
    The novel has been a key tool in the dissemination of culture towards all the social classes. It has been very successful due to its flexibility, as a veichle to narrate every kind of story. Sometimes it has been used to narrate adventures, sometimes to narrate the love stories. Other times it has been used to denounce many social injustices occured in many historical periods.
    From this point of view the writer who most impressed me was Victor Hugo. Through his novels “Notre Dame de Paris” and “Miserables”, he strongly attacks social inequality, child labour, and the absence of civil rights for lowest social classes. Moreover he claims the abolition of the death penalty and the renewal of the judicial system with the novel “The Last Day of a Condemned Man” (1829): it talks about a man who was condemned to the guillotine. During his last days he wrote about his feelings and fears while awaiting the execution; the novel ends with the description of the noises of the crowd outside, waiting for his decapitation like an unimissable show.
    Apart Hugo, there are so many writers I could mention who have contributed to my moral and intellectual growth. If I hadn’t read them, today I’d be emptier and more incomplete.
    Reading can transmit values and emotions and I think that I could never live without it. Each book can help changing the way we live, and enrich our cultural, emotional and social background.
    I conclude with a quote from one of the greatest Italian writers of the last century, Umberto Eco, who said: “When a men who doesn’t read turn to be 70, it will be like he lived just one life: his own. Instead, readers will live for 5000 years: they were present when Cain killed Abel, when Renzo and Lucia got married and when Leopardi admirated the infinite. That because reading is a backward immortality.”

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  6. Eugenio Carucci says:

    Unfortunately I don’t spend enough time in reading novels as I would like to. Maybe this is caused by my University organization, in fact when I was at high school I used to read more. I was really fascinated by the narrative of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and by his novels often related to lonely men and women. In novels like “Crhonicle of a death foretold”, “Memories of my melancholy whores” and “No one writes to the colonel” (maybe my favorite novels of him) is common to find the description of the suffering of people who lived a life that could have been different, and now in their old age and loneliness they are reflecting on this. I would like to read more because I think that it gives you a cultural depth useful in your life especially if you will have to deal with law. Primarily because reading can help you to acquire a mastery of the language essential to understand the words of law in their social context. We don’t have to distinguish overly the fiction of a novel by the society where we live because all the stories of individuals are part of a common human experience that belongs to our society as it has been developed. By reading novels as those I mentioned emerges characteristics of human soul and society. Novels as law depict the world and face human problems, whishes and expectations. So I think that if you don’t want to consider law as a mere complex of strict and abstract rules you have to take a look of her core, and you can better find it if you have gotten a greater awareness of the human experience. Novels can help you to understand the ratio of law because they tell you the lives and the problems of men. More and more you read novels, more and more you really can understand why in their own lives men act this way, what brings them to do what they do. And if you know the forces that move people you will be able to face law in a different way, discovering the real meaning that lie in her words. As law rules the life so novels write about it. In afro-american literature as in “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison is described the wish to fight against racism for the affirmation of the equal dignity and fundamental human rights. By reading this novel you can be more aware of the meaning and the great importance of values conquered by our society and you can really protect them, because how it’s written in the Art. 3 of Italian Constitution these belong to everybody without distinction of sex, race, language, religion, political opinion, personal and social conditions.

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  7. Valentina Ertola says:

    I think that I could be easily defined a novels-lover, it is beautiful for me to dap in a reality completely different from the mine. Surely without all the books ( and it’s a huge quantity) and all films and, why not?, Tv series that i have read/watched during this years now I would be different.
    Someone could say that novels aren’t fundamental for a good life. Infact during many centuries the most part of the pupulation couldn’t read anything (especially for a lack of literacy,), living happily anyway. And this is the reason, I suppose, of the existence of the expression “Blissful ignorance”.
    But novels have to be considered not only as a literary genre, but as a way to broaden the horizons. Reading or watching something, a book, a film, even a Tv series, that many times can be considered stupid or useless , is the best way to grow out your mind because this activity makes you think about themes that you had probably never thought about and develops your ideas .
    Novels have this beautiful characteristic that is their capability of concerning subjects completely different among themselves and presentig them in a huge quantity of ways. By this point of view novels are perfect to explain something that maybe is really complicated for an ordinary person.
    I can mention the sequence of the five children’s books made by Stephen Hawking ” The big adventure of universe” where he explains very clearly astrophysical concepts ( I have read them and , even with my scarce knowledge on astrophysic, I have understood any of them). So every human mind’s work is an opportunity of growing, and novels are one of the best supports of this works. It is clear that a good writer will influence his readers more significantly than someone who writes a book or an article without any knowledge of the facts.
    But also good writers can damage their reader’s mind writing something that is completely wrong but presenting it as true, this thing can cause many problems and mistakes.
    By a juridical point of view the use of a clear and understandable style in writing normatives is extremely important; yes, there are areas of law where people needs the help of an expert, in this case a lawyer, and it is obvious that only lawyers can efficaciously deal with the incredibly big amount of law, but if someone can’t understand the content of a law how could he know what are his rights and duties?
    Anyone could mention novels that have been relevant for them: “Animals’s farm” , “Jane Eyre” and “The Goddes” have influenced a lot my turn of mind. Surely the fact that a novel has been written by one of the “great names” of literature doesn’t make it well-written or significative, a nobody can write a masterpiece too.,
    Writing is a sort of responsibility. If a novel becomes a success, it will influence, positively or negatively, thousands of people around the world, and this fact is valid for all kinds of novel.
    When I was seventeen my teacher of italian literature mentioned a phrase of Pessoa that I think is appropriate :
    “I libri ci danno un diletto che va in profondità, discorrono con noi, ci consigliano e si legano a noi con una sorta di familiarità attiva e penetrante”
    “Books give us a deep pleasure, they talk to us, they counsel us and tie themselves to us with a sort of active and penetrating familiarity”.

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  8. annearoma says:

    Anne van Pagée:

    I can’t imagine a life without novels. I love to read and especially novels I read in my spare time, take them with me when I’m on holiday to relax and read a beautiful story. I think novels (and also tv series) are a good way to empathize with the people around you. In my opinion you always empathize with the main character of the story and when you are really into the story I always imagine how I would have felt or acted when I was the main character. For me that is mostly the case with the books of Santa Montefiore, you realize that when you take a decision it can change your whole life. Novels also leave some space for the reader to create their own opinion about the events in the book, while pure literature is already subjective.
    Novels are the best way to learn about other people’s lifes and it teaches us also about history. For example the book ‘Elle s’appelait Sarah’ teaches us about how life was during the Second World War in France, a country which we barely hear about when it comes tot he second World War.
    We learn life lessons from novels, and also from other legal cases. They teach us what we better do and what we better not do. It also teaches us that we all struggle with the same things in life: love, death.. and that it is perfectly normal to struggle with these issues.
    We can read about other peoples lifes and learn from it. Think about the tv show Modern Family, it shows us how different families nowadays can be compared to years ago. It shows us the mistakes they make and how they solve their problems, and even because its just a normal family, it gives us great entertainment to watch because we recognize many of our own struggles in that family. They are just normal, like us. But by being normal they can be an example for us. It teaches us, that underneath it all (status, money, country, heritage) we are all the same.
    What I would loose if I lived without novels.. Maybe a little bit of empathy? And definitely also my imagination. When I read a novel I always imagine how the character would look like, where the setting would be… It helps being creative (you might call it day dreaming). Novels help you understand other people, or it might also help you understand the world a little bit more.

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  9. Nora Auerbach says:

    Although I read a lot of non fictional texts, research papers and essays for university and personal interest I cannot imagine living without novels. I started to read novels when I was a little girl. I just went to the liberary next to our house and grapped everything I could get. Especially when I was younger novels opened a total new world to me that was quite different to my life. Places I have never thought of, problems I never had to cope with and a way of thinking that was not present in my surroundings. When I come to a new place I prefer to read novels about the history, society and lifes which take place in this environs. For now I read a lot of italian literature, novels by Calvino, Levi or Pavese. It offers me the possibility to understand better history and the athmosphere in a certain periode. Besides it is a really pleasant way of taking a closer look on the social and general developments. So one aspect is the longing to understand and learn from the world around me. The other reason why I read novels or why I cannot imagine living without them is the aspect of imagination. I really like to immerse myself into the language and detection of an author. Furthermore it shows me aspects and ideas I might not have think of before. Another important aspect is that I learn a lot of novels, I improve my vocabulary and my knowledge.
    For me the power of novels is the way how they can encourage you in your thoughts, your behaviour and your ideas. Novels are also pattern of inspiration.
    For me reading is also a way to compare and reflect my opinions. By reading novels you get a really personal perspective of the ideas and motivations of a character. You learn to question and analyse your own thoughts. They can teach you emphaty, diversity and acceptance. The influence of novels lies in the power of language. If you study law most of the time you deal with a really abstract, dogmatic language that it is often also objective. It can occur that you “loose” the bond to reality and people how are not in the same discourses, have no idea what you are talking about. Novels offer a mirror of the reality “outside” and enable you take another position or perspective regarding a topic.

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  10. Cedric Conboy says:

    If you live with, what do you think you would loose if you lived without?
    I think novels are great. They can create a world of marvels. They put you into a place that you would never dream of being. That is important.
    When we live in a world where there are deaths every day, there are horrible acts of terrorism, countries are enacting restrictive laws on homosexuals, it is nice to escape somewhere.
    Novels are those.

    Without them I think the world would be a far duller place. We need imagination, we need a way to express our feelings and our taste and our ideas. Writing or reading novels can expand our knowledge and help us through hard times.
    But on a deeper level, it allows us to reflect on things we would not otherwise consider. They present us with moral challenges, at times, which change our perspectives on issues. Through hypothetical situations we can learn a lot about what we would do in real life.

    My favourite Novel is Cabal by Clive Barker. Or Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.

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  11. Anael Souffir says:

    When I started to think about my answer regarding the usefulness of the novels I could not find a straight answer.
    First because I think that we can’t definitively determine if it is useful or not or if we can live without it or not because of many external and internal criteria of each person.
    Indeed, even if we can all recognize and notice that these novels has contributed to the advancement of the human being and also helped people to understand how human being worked by reading those, we have to remember that there are people who had evolved and created their own person and personality without reading novels.
    That is why the answer to this interesting question has to be mitigated, according to me.
    Reading, generally speaking, obviously provide people new abilities in several fields, because there are books about every possible topics. Thus, it allows us to develop our general knowledge our ability to make a critical analysis our vocabulary also and so more. But reading is also making a choice on what we are going to develop through this reading and which category of knowledge we decide to improve and that is the power of books and everyone should use it to make them a better person and also to have a better perception of the society which surrounds them and thus learn how to found their niche.

    I’ve always enjoyed reading books and novels when I was younger at school because I had the feeling, and I still have it now when I read, than I was learning something new or that I was sharing someone’s experience through the book. Actually each author shares a part of themselves by writing books and that’s what create this special bound between authors and readers, it is not only about knowledge.
    I like burying myself into the book I’m reading because it’s a kind of loop-hole and allows a disconnection with this reality to be connected to a fictional ones for a couple hours.
    Like many of you, it helps me to sleep and destress.
    Novels also are one of the best way to stimulate your routine because every day you can jump to one story to another and discover another universe created by the author. I remember the feeling I had when I red the short story collection of Maupassant, everyday I was so enthusiastic and impatient to read the next one. The novels of Maupassant are my favorites.
    Finally, I think that novels could be useful for everyone but the problem is not everyone likes reading novels or have already red novels and succeeded to build their lives in a very balanced way though ..
    That is why it is kind of paradoxal to me

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  12. Anael Souffir says:

    When I started to think about my answer regarding the usefulness of the novels I could not find a straight answer.
    First because I think that we can’t definitively determine if it is useful or not or if we can live without it or not because of many external and internal criteria of each person.
    Indeed, even if we can all recognize and notice that these novels has contributed to the advancement of the human being and also helped people to understand how human being worked by reading those, we have to remember that there are people who had evolved and created their own person and personality without reading novels.
    That is why the answer to this interesting question has to be mitigated, according to me.
    Reading, generally speaking, obviously provide people new abilities in several fields, because there are books about every possible topics. Thus, it allows us to develop our general knowledge our ability to make a critical analysis our vocabulary also and so more. But reading is also making a choice on what we are going to develop through this reading and which category of knowledge we decide to improve and that is the power of books and everyone should use it to make them a better person and also to have a better perception of the society which surrounds them and thus learn how to found their niche.

    I’ve always enjoyed reading books and novels when I was younger at school because I had the feeling, and I still have it now when I read, than I was learning something new or that I was sharing someone’s experience through the book. Actually each author shares a part of themselves by writing books and that’s what create this special bound between authors and readers, it is not only about knowledge.
    I like burying myself into the book I’m reading because it’s a kind of loop-hole and allows a disconnection with this reality to be connected to a fictional ones for a couple hours.
    Like many of you, it helps me to sleep and destress.
    Novels also are one of the best way to stimulate your routine because every day you can jump to one story to another and discover another universe created by the author. I remember the feeling I had when I red Maupassant
    Finally, I think that novels could be useful for everyone but the problem is : not everyone likes reading novels or have already red novels
    That is why it is a very paradoxal issue to me ..

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  13. martinabernardini says:

    I love reading very much: novel and essay are my favourite.
    Even though in these last few months I do not have enough time for reading, because of my class at university, books are still so important in my Life and so it is really hard for me to image living without. Reading is not just an hobby or a fun way to enjoy sparetime, but to me is an important way to improve our own skills or knowledge. In fact most of the best authors, from the past and the present, do not only create an imaginary story, but also describe historical events or real life or real human things. An outstanding example is “Il Gattopardo” written by G. Tomasi di Lampedusa, that is also my favourite novel. By describing a real Italian historical time, G. Tomasi di Lampedusa Explorer misery and decline of politics during the indipendence war of Italian people together with a poetical and very interesting description of Sicilian citizens.
    Considering that, I think that novel productively impact in to the people’s live. Books give us the opportunity to batter know and experience pur reality in a way that we would not have otherwise.

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  14. fuoritraccia says:

    I live with novels since I was a child. I remember that my mother and my grandma used to tell me stories to put me asleep. Through all my adolescence I read a lot of novels, in particular science fiction novels and thrillers. In the recent years I started to read the ‘classics’, in particular Russian and French literature of the 19th century. Today I find it more difficult than before to read long novels, but still I can’t imagine my everyday life without a good book in my backpack.
    Umberto Eco said that “The person who doesn’t read lives only one life. The reader lives 5,000. Reading is immortality backwards”: I agree with this statement. First of all, I would say that reading makes you live different lives and I’m not just talking about facts that happened to other people: some novels just makes you live in a world, in a time, in a situation, that you couldn’t imagine before. When you read Dostoevskij’s novels, for instance, you are not just reading a story, you’re put in a world with a different culture, a different system of values, many different traditions, and still you can find the eternal issues and questions of the human mankind.
    There’s another quote that I really like and it’s from a song by The Smiths: “There’s more to life than books, you know? But not much more”. I like this quote a lot but at the same time I don’t see reading just as an escape from reality. I would say that reading novels is more than just a hobby: it’s an exercise to your mind because it makes you question all the questionable, and it makes you more aware about the present times. So it gives you a great power and also, quoting uncle Ben, great responsibilities.
    Novels are always an expression of the writer and of his way of thinking. But we have to understand that the writer is not like a Robinson Crusoe, all alone on his island: every writer shares connections with other people in everyday life, and lives in a society which is different from the others, considering time and space. So every writer puts in his novels his personal ideas and values but at the same time the ideas and values that he shares with the community in which he lives in. We could use for instance the Marxist theory about base and superstructure: base are the individuals who live in a given place and in a given time, and all the economical, social and in particular working connections between them; the superstructure is the culture and the system of values which can be found in
    all the human form of expression and communication. Base conditions superstructure but at the same time superstructure conditions the base. Recent philosophers and sociologists, such as Slavoj Zizek, use the word “ideology” to express a similar idea.
    Now if we consider that law is influenced at the same time by ideology and by all the social connections between the individuals in a given society, we can state that literature has a very deep impact on the people lives and also on their ideas of normativity.
    But I have to say that literature is just one form of expression. His impact with people’s life and the idea of normativity reached his highest level in the 19th century, when novels was one of the main form of expression. I think that today literature is still very important, but less than in the past. This is because there are a lot of new forms of communication that sure carry less informations, but that are more frequent and immediate. I think the literature’s impact on the system of values and on the ideas of normativity is not as important as the impact from songs, movies, TV Shows and Social media in particular.

    Federico Baffa

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  15. martinabernardini says:

    I like reading very much: novel and essay are my favourite.
    Even though in these last few months I do not have enough time for reading, because of my class at university, books are still so important in my life and so it is really hard for me to image living without.
    Reading is not just an hobby or a fun way to enjoy sparetime, but to me is an important way to improve our own skills or knowledge. In fact most of the best authors, from the past and the present, do not only create an imaginary story, but also describe historical events or real life or real human things. An outstanding example is “Il Gattopardo” written by G. Tomasi di Lampedusa, that is also my favourite novel. By describing a real Italian historical time, G. Tomasi di Lampedusa explores misery and decline of politics during the indipendence war of Italian people together with a poetical and very interesting description of Sicilian citizens.
    Considering that, I think that novel productively impact in to the people’s lives. Books give us the opportunity to better know and experience our reality in a way that we would not have otherwise.

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  16. Amanda Rossini says:

    I love to read in general, but specially novels because I use it as a tool to scape the reality for a few hours, to focus my brain on someone’s else stories/problems/struggles and to expand my vocabulary either in portuguese or english. My friends always mock me because I am always glued to my kindle reading novels and sometimes I am so into the stories I get carried away easily and forget about everything around me. In my opinion, that is one of the best things about reading something fascinating, our ability to fully concentrate on the subject matter and become solemnly interested in that. Another important consequence of reading is the development of our overall knowledge, vocabulary and criticism. To be honest, the books I choose to read usually are very light romances that catch my attention in the moment I intend to relax and entertain myself but I like to think that regardless your choice of book it will always add some value to your life somehow, specially if you read in a language different than your mother tongue one. One book that recently affected me in a very emotional way is called “O rouxinol” in portuguese and it tells the story of two sisters during the second world war. Besides its emotional relevance, it also made me dwell on many aspects of life, freedom, war, fairness and courage and for me this is the beauty of reading. I am describing my experiences with literature but it could also be applied to tv shows, great movies, concerts and theatre plays in a way that all of them make you reflect on aspects of life and the different ways people react to them. I think all of the categories I mentioned have a important role on the formation of our judgment towards society in general.

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  17. Angie Kapllani says:

    I could never live without novels because I need the kind of imagination they support. I would loose so much inspiration without reading. I also would kiss the dispution with different themes.
    For example I am reading Nabokovs “Lolita” right now and I really appreciate the fact that you can get into another people’s mind and can try to understand the way someone thinks and what makes him behaving like he does. Lolita is about a man who falls in love with a child and then starts a relationship with the young girl. So I think that getting inside the head of someone like this could help to judge people like this because we could never understand them from our own perspective.
    I am sure that reading, especially reading novels, is a great way to amplify its own horizon and find new ways of thinking and understanding people.

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  18. Angie Kapllani says:

    Angie

    I couldn’t live without novels because I need the kind of imagination they support. I would loose so much inspiration without reading. I also would miss the dispution with different themes. For example I am reading Nabokovs “Lolita” right now and really appreciate the fact that you can get into the mind of another person and can try to understand this person’s way of thinking and behaving. Lolita is about a man who falls in love with a child and starts a relationship with the young girl, short: pedophilia. I think reading novels like this can help to judge those people because we could never understand them from our own perspective. All in all I am sure that reading, especially reading novels, is a great way to amplify ist own horizon and to find new ways of thinking.

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  19. Andrea Marseglia says:

    I think that I couldn’t live without good readings, in particular novels because it’s a very important expression of art.
    Unfortunately during the university I didn’t read so much novels because I have to focus to my university exams. During this time I started to read legal novels because it’s a good way to improve my knowledge and to train my critical thinking about legal facts. One of the last novels that I read is “Le Dernier Jour d’un condamné” by Victor Hugo, for example this novel explain the feelings of of a man condemned to die,in this way the author show to the readers his thought about death penalty and change our point of view because with this short novel you can personify with the protagonist .
    This is an example why novels and reandings in general are very important, it changes our mind and amplify our horizons

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  20. Esther Haentjes says:

    Reading novels is very important for me. I don’t want to live without.
    Sometimes novels can create such different world in which you can flee. But while you are reading you can also learn a lot about of feelings and morality, how to act, and sometimes also how to feel empathy. Depending on the kind of novel it can present you different points of view. I think all these facts are very important for a peaceful human life, and also very important for lawyer/judges. In my opinion media in general are very useful for the society: media teach, give people voices, weld together people and give the possibility to be informed. Media just show the norm. But they are also very dangerous because they can influence your thinking a lot. I think digital media more than print media. Although digital media teach you the same facts maybe, there is a big difference. Print media, especially novels, give you a much larger room for creativity, interpretation and mostly they are independent of the administration, so they can offer you a critical mind.
    I think it’s a pitty that novels are loosing their meanings more and more nowadays. In my opinion the fact of creativity, which you can learn while reading novels, prepares you also to handle with things in your life you didn’t expect. You learned already “to Imagine”.

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  21. Anina Gröger says:

    I started to read when I was 5 or 6 years old. And I read a lot! For me, it always was a way to escape reality, to expirence adventures. Without even noticing, it had a big influence on my pesonality and my sense of morality. When I began to identify with different characters and their emotions, I also began to project them into my life and my reality.
    In novels you are getting the opportunity to not only identify with one, good character, you can also expirence the reasons for, what seems like, bad behavior. That is forming your sense of morality and questioning your point of view by giving you room for maybe changing it. It also can expand your horizon by adressing situations you never thought about before, so you can form a opinion about it.
    Because of all that, I can’t really imagine living without novels, because it had this big impact on my life and personality. I probably would just flee into other kinds of storys or media.

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  22. Luigi Rocca says:

    It’s kind of hard to imagine how my life would be today without books.
    The passion for novels is something that has driven my life since my very childhood, when my parents chased me throughout the house with Robert Luis Stevenson’s books in one hand and Rudyard Kipling’s in the other.
    In my family reading was not optional: I’ve been taught to read and I’ve been taught the virtue of reading: culture was something to aim to and something that had to be achieved.

    Therefore it is impossible to define how I would be without books, because most of my personality and my inner self is a byproduct of the books I’ve read.
    I can’t even imagine why someone would not read novels; Umberto Eco once said that he who reads has a thousands lives and who doesn’t has just but one.

    Probably, hadn’t I had the passion I have for novels I would have surrogate it with some other cultural media, such as films (which I adore by the way;I probably watch more movies than I read books), because I need stories, it’s something I couldn’t live without.

    Which is strange in some degree, because novels are in someway useless.
    A book doesn’t pay your bills, a book doesn’t gives you a house, a book doesn’t satisfy any tangible need.
    But while a book (or art in general) is something completely useless on practical terms, it’s probably the most meaningful one.

    Because that is the true importance of novels: novels gives you meaning (in the cognitive sense of the term) and help you develop your inner language.

    I think that’s the importance of individual narratives: books help you forge your capability in giving meaning to things and events; they help you giving significance.

    As I said, books don’t have any practical use in a tangible sense and the true power of novels lie on an intangible level: narratives don’t buy you a house, but they are the bricks you must use to erect all your immaterial understandings.
    Since books build your inner knowledge, they are the main tool to shape your point of view on life, giving insights on new ideas and perspectives.
    Normative activity is founded on consensual point of view about the ethics established in a society in a given moment in time: the sum of individual narratives build up the consensus – or the dominant paradigm, we could say. This means that if novels are truly capable of changing someone’s point of view on life or on a particular matter, that means that in some way individual narratives are what shape the general consensus.

    I’d like to make an example: in 1852, Beecher Stowe published “Uncle Tom’s Cabins”; that means nine years before the American Civil war (1861-1865).

    Uncle Tom’s Cabin was instrumental in shaping the contemporary consensus about the wrogness of slavery. It rapidly became one of the most famous books of its age (nearly three houndred thousand copies sold) and it was vital in fueling the abolitionist cause; after a few years Stowe’s novels was the banner of the movement.
    Such was the book’s relevance that Lincold said about its author: “So such is the little lady who started this great war”.

    By shaping the immaterial (point of views, perspectives, knowledge and so on) and by moving further individual narratives, novels can act as a game changer in the consensus that founds and presides over the normative activity, creating tangible changes in peoples’ lives.

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  23. mariabeatrizseica says:

    1) Do you live with or without novels? If you live without, why are you not interested in the life of individuals others than you?

    In my view, it is not possible to live without novels. After learning about this genre, I have learned that we should not abandon living with novels. Even if we were teleported to a deserted island, we would create novels in our thoughts. As people we need to keep them going in our minds so we can find peace within ourselves even in desperate times. Novels allow us to evade and escape to somebody else’s life or a fantasy about our lives we want to live. As a person, we need to learn and discover aspects of yourself that you never knew that existed.

    2) If you live with, what do you think you would loose if you lived without?

    Living without novels means abandoning a thousand friends, knowing only those who we see with the eyes and forgetting those who we found between words. It means not going through thousands of trips around the world. It’s to let all the laughter and all the tears shed before bedtime. All the feelings that you created belong to you as a reward for your complete delivery of your own story.

    The last novel that I read was “The Old Man and the Sea” by E. Hemingway. It was incredible that the very little I knew about the old fisherman, Santiago and his battle against the giant fish; he wasn’t the only one to fight. As a devoted reader I was begging in my thoughts that he could defeat the mighty fish. The terrible wounds on his hands healed, and his arms won back their strenght to get back to a safe harbor. It is certain to say that I will never to face something like that, but thanks to the author of the novel I can now say that I felt like I was right there in the fight. In novels it allows us visualize how to fight different types of battles. Yet I am able to learn from their victories and defeats.

    3) Try to explain how individual narratives (either legal cases or literary stories) can have an impact in other people’s lives and ideas of normativity.

    The real power of individual narratives (either legal cases or literary stories), makes us feel a part of something that is not apart of reality. For instance, as a lawyer we have to defend other people with all of our strength, fighting different types of battles. Theses narratives allow us to be able to see the global perspective on different situations. I think about all the possible endings, even though the “story” may be only starting. The comprehension of legal cases as narratives help jurists predict possible outcomes, as well as how others parties roles may develop during the court case. Besides, putting ourselves in “other people shoes”, we are able to understand many different types of peoples prospectives and be open minded rather than be narrow and closed to outside thought. This allows us to understand law, as a product of not only ourselves, but a harmony that can and must suit everyone in equal terms in our communities.
    (Maria Beatriz Seiça)

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  24. Luise Wangler says:

    When I started to read in the first place, I preferred novels. Now as a student, they got mostly replaced by appropriate literature of the subjects of my studies. When this question came up; what does the novel mean in your live, I was surprised that it actually had an impact on me that couldn’t be replaced by non-fiction. At first the novel such as a narrative of private lives from a subjective point of view obviously has the specialty that we as readers are affected emotionally. Trough the eyes of the protagonist we can experience unknown worlds. We emphasize with the characters, feel solitary, even a special connection. We have compassion with the others and at the same moment our own feelings can be described (sometimes maybe more clear than we could do that). As ordinary people we feel understood, understand new things in live even about ourselves through others and learn about live. We have the chance to live with the character and through him/her. In the process of the protagonist, we can develop ourselves parallel and grow out of the feeling of being lost in the world. We become meaningful just as the protagonist becomes meaningfull for us. So i think for me the novel is a feeling of socialization and of being part and in a sense as well therapy.

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  25. Sophie Schaaps says:

    Do you live with or without novels? If you live without, why are you not interested in the life of individuals others than you? If you live with, what do you think you would lose if you lived without?

    Since my childhood, I love reading. But unfortunately sinceI went to University, I had to reduced this leisure time activity. But I have to explain it.
    When I was younger, I used to read historical novels, sometimes connected with fantasy. At school, we read a lot of classical literature, but also contemporary literature. I loved reading those books, analysing the (often moral) message behind in conjunction with the author’s life and the historical context.
    I always loved History, because it tells us so many stories of so many different people. That is the reason, amongst others, why I’m studying History of Art. Behind every painting, photo, sculpture and architecture, there is a meaning and a story. I think that the proverb‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ can be absolutely true. After all, in my course of studies, I read a lot: art manifestos, critiques,letters and essays of philosophers and writers, or even discourses of politicians or statesmen.
    I admit that studying all these writings is not comparable to reading a novel. Because by reading a novel, you can experience the story on a completely different level: you can really empathise with the experience; feel the pain and the luck of the protagonist(s). Thanks to novels, you can learn to sympathize and to think about yourself. But not only novels can educate and can make you deliberating about your life, thoughts, feelings and moral understanding. Aspects that are also important, are the environment in which you grow (family, friends and school) and the people, the situations you meet in your life. Nowadays, additionally to these aspects, the television, movies and series can play an important role for the education of people. But like novels, these media can be accompanied by a certain danger.
    Whatsoever due to the fact that I have to read a lot at University, like I mentioned, I reduced my novel reading. Because in my leisure time, I prefer being active and stop the physical immobility. Another reason why I am reading less is that I started studying abroad. This demands a lot of effort and energy. Reading a novel should be something recovering. For me, only in my own language this effect can be guaranteed. So I reduced my reading of novels in order to concentrate on my studies.I don’t feel like I’m not interested in the life of other people in this moment. My studies already include the life and thoughts of other individuals.
    But finally I’m missing reading novels a lot, during the University time. And I’m always looking forward to the time when I can enter in a new point of view of the world, and to see things and persons with another pair of eyes.

    Try to explain how individual narratives (either legal cases or literary stories) can have an impact in other people’s lives and ideas of normativity.

    The best example is Goethe’s autobiographic ‘Werther’ of 1774.
    Werther, a young law trainee describes in form of letters an unluckily liaison with a married woman. In the end, he commits suicide because of his unfulfilled wish to be with her.
    This novel was extremely successful in Europe that it’s possible to use the word ‘Werther fever’.Young men desperately in love even dressed like the protagonist. Furthermore some imitated even the suicide. When they read ‘Werther’, they felt understand and not alone. With the suicide of the protagonist, this novel could have conveyed the only choice left for a lovesick desperate young man and a certain normativity of a, a bit later, so called ‚romantic death‘. But of course, this normativity was also influenced by the men themselves. By committing suicide they provoked unconsciouslythe imitation of like-minded persons. After all the number of the suicides weren’t that high, but high enough to let citizen and church criticize the novel. And high enough to demonstrate how influent a novel can be.

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  26. Simone Improta says:

    Personally, I am not a great reader of novels because I have not a great passion for reading.In fact about my interest in the life of individuals others than me I really love to watch movies of all kinds. So, my curiosity about other people’s lives and the stories told through cultural means develops much around watching movies and television series.

    The novel democratizes the people: this concept of which has been discussed in class i think that can also see from the cinematic point of view, where the stories often take inspiration from novels or otherwise, again, from a screenplay powered of a writer’s pen (screenwriter ).

    Also under the influence about the vision of the law by the people is clear that a film, as well as a book, opens the mind of the viewer, giving different points of view with respect to social issues, laws and policies.

    As mentioned in class, even social networks now provide a platform where anyone can tell his private story, turning a blog or a social network in a personal novel that can also affect the life of the reader.

    So, my interest in the life of anyone other than me exists and is very real, but my laziness leads me to prefer less demanding tools to put myself in other people’s lives but always with the understanding that the story of another person, if it is tell in a novel, can always affect my perspective on the world around me.

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  27. Maria D'Ercole says:

    What is the true function of a novel? There are many ways to approach a novel. One can see in a novel a way for a writer to express stories he himself never had the chance to live. Hence, we consider his imagination as source of our proper inspiration. Who is to admire though? The writer, the writing or both? As usual, the answer lies in between. Strange is that one tends to admire more past novelists rather than present novelists because it seems you can identify better with figures in the past or stories of the past. How long have I heard that Jules Verne was a great writer; can we say the same of contemporary entertainers such as Dan Brown or J.K Rowling often considered as mere creators of blockbuster books? I think that also the period when the novel was wrote has an impact on the personality you tend to develop under its influence. I guess novels will always inspire people because they let develop imagination and one can identify better with a fictional character rather than a real one. I would say novels can inspire people but cannot teach them nothing. That said, the quality of the writer would only proclaim to which degree one can identify with the story or not. For instance religious texts, whether true or false, have set the rules of the world we live in today. At the time those writers where admired and still are nowadays. From the Bible to the Coran, those religious texts are novels (simplifying) set out there to motivate people to conduct a reasonable life. However, we consider some modern novels ambiguous but source of inspiration, and religious mentorship, as well. Such as Ron Hubbard’s movement Scientology based on a surreal science fiction tale. Living without novels is just deciding to have a different style of life. I do not say it is wright or wrong. I feel that hard-core novelist readers often miss the real life in the outside world. Others get too much inspiration and become fanatics. I personally try to put myself in between, trying on the one hand to find examples of great tales and, on the other hand, trying to set my own personal example as an extraordinary tale.

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  28. Joris Kole says:

    I have read a lot of novels in my live and the function for me was escaping real life and live the life of someone else for a moment. It’s something to relax but also more. The beautifull thing of a novel is feeling and experiencing what someone else would do and or feel, and at the same time thinking about what you would have done in the exact same situation. It makes you more versatile because you learn to see live and situations in a different view. The ones that I liked the most where the story’s about a figure called Old Shatterhand (western written by Karl May), in this book the writer is the main figure and tells the story’s like it was his own life. In recent years I haven’t really read a novel anymore, I switched to more scientific books, prefferebly about historie. Because let’s be honest, a true story can be as good as a fictional one.

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  29. Francesca Ginese says:

    Do you live with or without novels?
    If you live without , why are you not interested in th life of individual others than you?
    If you live with, what do you think you would loose you lived without?
    Try to explain how individual narratives (either legal cases or literary stories) can have an impact in other people’s lives and ideas of normativity

    When I was I child I was not used to read many books, even though my parents and teachers have always told me to do so. This is probably because I saw it as an order, so I did not want do it. However, once I grew up and went to high school, my Italian teacher was so enthusiastic about the subject she taught, thus, she transmitted to me her love for literature. As a consequence, I started to get closer to reading. During this year I started a challenge called “reading challenge”. It is made of a list composed by different types of genres and “types of books” (eg a book set somewhere you have always wanted to visit). This enables you to explore every type of genres and, why not, discover your new preferred one!
    However, my favorite genre is novel, in particularly, epistolary novel because I think that letters have an added value: the story told is more realistic and the reader has the chance to know even the deeper thoughts and points of view of the main character.
    In spite of this, I love reading any kind of novel, but, I prefer those ones which are less descriptive and more focused on the characters themselves and on dialogs.
    What I like the most while reading novels, is that moment when you stop seeing the characters as strangers and you start feeling closer and closer to them.
    In conclusion, I think that living without novels limits you as a person, in the sense that you would not have the chance to hear (read) different points of views and, most importantly, to explore a parallel world and, consequently, to enrich your life bagagge.

    Try to explain how individual narratives (either legal cases or literary stories) can have an impact in other people’s lives and ideas of normativity

    Individual narratives, as I said before, can have a heavy impact on people’s life, because you can start thinking and reflect on things that would have never came to your mind. One of my favorite examples of this, are the legal novels. In this kind of novels you always a story with a problem and often a solution to that problem or what you should do to escape from that particular situation. It basically gives you a greater view of things, and, sometimes, answers that you would have not thought of otherwise.

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