Why we need to read and understand literature: literariness and Hans Rosling’s Factfulness (2018)

Document Type: Review Articles

Author

Professor of English literature, Department of Economy, Language and Social Studies, Østfold University College, Halden, Norway

Abstract

My article addresses the qualities of “good” literature and how an understanding of the nature of literary devices, so-called “literariness”, can enhance the reading experience. Focusing on Hans Rosling’s Factfulness (2018), I discuss some of the most important features of good writing. Six literary devices have been selected for special attention: point of view, tone, amplification, anecdotes, flashbacks, and parallelism. Factfulness is not only good writing, it carries an important message: “[w]hen we have a fact-based window, we can see that the world is not as bad as it seems – and we can see what we have to do to keep making it better” (p. 255). Rosling emphasises the importance of knowing the facts about our planet, and relying on these rather than primitive instincts to make assessments and decisions. The elegance of Rosling’s language makes the message not only convincing but also palatable.
the importance of knowing the facts about our planet, and relying on these rather than primitive instincts to make assessments and decisions. The elegance of Rosling’s language makes the message not only convincing but also palatable.

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Main Subjects