The Great Stories, the Ones That Live On and On

Jul 8, 2020 | Beautiful Prose, Predicates and commas and whatnot

Thus, in criticizing fiction we must be careful to distinguish those books that satisfy our own particular unconscious needs — the ones that make us say, “I like this book, although I don’t really know why” — from those that satisfy the deep unconscious needs of almost everybody. The latter are undoubtedly the great stories, the ones that live on and on for generations and centuries. As long as man is man, they will go on satisfying him, giving him something that he needs to have — a belief in justice and understanding and the allaying of anxiety. We do not know, we cannot be sure, that the real world is good. But the world of a great story is somehow good. We want to live there as often and as long as we can.

…from Mortimer J. Adler‘s How to Read a Book, which, I admit, is not an easy read.