I think good fiction expands our sympathies, asks us to consider people and places and circumstances very remote from our own, and asks us to consider how we would act and what we would feel if we were in their shoes. Much wickedness stems from our failure to imagine other people as fully human, and as our equals. So, yes - I think fiction does have a moral dimension. But, of course, if it is not also entertaining no one will read it and it will have no effect at all.
-- Hilary Mantel, as quoted in the PS guide to Vacant Possession
Do you agree?