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Friday, November 6, 2015

Should Books Contain a Health Warning?

Books Are Dangerous

Contagion, poison and trigger. The idea that books are dangerous has a long history, and holds a kernel of truth.

Frank Furedi | November 5, 2015

At universities around the world, students are claiming that reading books can unsettle them to the point of becoming depressed, traumatised or even suicidal. Some contend that Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs Dalloway (1925), in which a suicide has taken place, could trigger suicidal thoughts among those disposed to self-harm. Others insist that F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925), with its undercurrent of spousal violence, might trigger painful memories of domestic abuse. [...]

Many Greek and Roman thinkers shared Socrates’ concerns. Trigger warnings were issued in the third century BCE by the Greek dramatist Menander, who exclaimed that the very act of reading would have a damaging effect on women. Menander believed that women suffered from strong emotions and weak minds. Therefore he insisted that ‘teaching a woman to read and write’ was as bad as ‘feeding a vile snake on more poison’.

<more at (E-books 'damage sleep and health,' doctors warn. December 23, 2014) and (4 Bad Side Effects of Reading Fiction According to the 19th Century. June 20, 2014)>

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