Throughout the 19th century, novels were regarded with the same suspicion with which we treat, say, Eli Roth’s ‘torture-porn’ Saw movies today. They were dangerous not simply because of the stories they might contain – the romantic expressions of wish-fulfillment, for example, that led Emma Bovary down the garden path of adultery – but also because reading itself was seen as a kind of possession: an encroachment of the ‘other’ upon the self.
In his condemnatory tract Popular Amusements (1869), the American clergyman Jonathan Townley Crane cautioned his flock against reading novels: ‘novel-readers spend many a precious hour in dreaming out clumsy little romances of their own, in which they themselves are the beautiful ladies and the gallant gentlemen who achieve impossibilities…’ only to find themselves ‘merged in the hero of the story’, losing the sense of who they really are.....
January 9, 2016
"What’s more wholesome than reading? Yet books wield a dangerous power: the best erode self, infecting readers with ideas."
Here's an essay titled "Dark Books" by Tara Isabella Burton.