What is jealousy? What drives us to envy others? Why do we all seem to find jealousy both detestable and secretly enjoyable at the same time? And why is jealousy such a prominent theme in most of our greatest literature?
These are the questions Parul Seghal explores in this eloquent lecture (video below). As she says, “Jealousy baffles me. It’s so mysterious, and it’s so pervasive.” And in thirteen minutes, she offers a brilliant analysis of the intersection between jealousy, literature, knowledge, and relationship.
Here are some highlights that I found particularly valuable:
1. The best analysts of jealousy are novelists
If you’re not yet convinced why it’s important to read fiction, listen to what Seghal has to say about jealousy in literature.
“I’ve never read a study that can parse to me its loneliness, or its longevity, or its grim thrill. For that we have to go to fiction. Because the novel is the lab that has studied jealousy in every possible configuration.”