The article traces the notion of empathy in fiction writing and how Cervantes’s treatment of characters in Don Quixote initiated a tradition which is ongoing in literature even today. The path of the writer is examined as a means for understanding how a writer must develop empathy for others, beginning with quotes from writers Helene Cixous and Henry James. Next, within the current political context of global upheaval and shift following on from the election of Donald Trump as president of the U.S.A. as well as the vote for Brexit in the U.K., the article argues for the relevance of Cervantes’s novel, not as a dated work of fiction, but as a text relevant both in form and in content for the modern political climate. Finally, the connection is made between fiction writers’ ability to feel empathy for others and create characters which readers will feel empathy for. The article follows on to proclaim the revolutionary and timely role of the fiction writer to help save us from ourselves in a tumultuous political landscape made unpredictable by social media-generated confirmation bias and insularity.
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Open Cultural Studies is a peer-reviewed journal exploring the fields of Humanities, Social Sciences and Arts. It interprets culture in an inclusive sense and promotes new research perspectives in cultural studies. The journal aims to enhance international collaboration among scholars from the Global North and the Global South and help early-career researchers. It is also committed to increasing public access to scholarship on cultural studies.