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CHAN: The Problem of Evil in Literature

CHAN: The Problem of Evil in Literature | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
CHAN: The Problem of Evil in Literature

Cornell University

 

Good and evil are the twin opposites of our ethical compass, and the struggle between good and evil is a conceit that powers the narratives of a huge variety of literature. Stories, from religious texts to fantasy novels, depict good protagonists fighting against evil antagonists for the salvation or protection of the world. The problem of the portrayal of evil in such narratives, though, is that although it evil meant to be an inscrutable monolith, it is nonetheless fascinating. Why, the reader asks, does evil do what evil does? Are the demons that possess people to do evil things manifestations of a cosmic being that lurks in the depths of some hellish dimension, or are they demons of the mind, conjured out of a phantasm of imagined or real injustices? The stock fantasy  narrative, such as those employed by Tolkien, has no answer.

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Elena Ferrante on the Origins of her Neapolitan Novels - Vogue.com

Elena Ferrante on the Origins of her Neapolitan Novels - Vogue.com | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Elena Ferrante on the Origins of her Neapolitan Novels
Vogue.com
“Relationships between women don't have solid rules like those between men,” says the Italian author Elena Ferrante.

 

“Relationships between women don’t have solid rules like those between men,” says the Italian author Elena Ferrante. “I was interested in recounting how a long friendship between two women could endure and survive in spite of good and bad feelings, dependence and rebellion, mutual support and betrayal.”

 

It would be difficult to find a deeper portrait of women’s friendship than the one in Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, which unfold from the fifties to the twenty-first century to tell a single story with the possessive force of an origin myth. Beginning with My Brilliant Friend, published in the U.S. two years ago, they’re ruminatively narrated by a writer named Elena, who looks back upon a defining, lifelong bond with the “terrible, dazzling” Lila, whom she meets in first grade.

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10 Genre-Fiction Novels You Might Have Missed - Den of Geek (US)

10 Genre-Fiction Novels You Might Have Missed - Den of Geek (US) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Den of Geek (US)

10 Genre-Fiction Novels You Might Have Missed

 

Here are ten fast-paced genre reads, all published in the last decade, that you may have missed and will keep you hooked.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Because you can never have too many book recommendations

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Philip K. Dick's 'Radio Free Albemuth' Finally Reaches the Silver Screen - PopMatters

Philip K. Dick's 'Radio Free Albemuth' Finally Reaches the Silver Screen - PopMatters | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
PopMatters
Philip K. Dick's 'Radio Free Albemuth' Finally Reaches the Silver Screen

 

Written in 1976, Philip K. Dick‘s Radio Free Albemuth novel brilliantly recombines many of the themes that had informed the visionary sci-fi author’s career. This includes the stories that brought the world film classics like Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report and A Scanner Darkly. But aside from the concept of being telepathically contacted by a mystical ET entity, the story deals with concerns about the perilous direction of society in modern times, rather than the futuristic dystopian worlds where most of Dick’s stories were set.

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Before I Go To Sleep: Exclusive film stills show Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth ... - The Independent

Before I Go To Sleep: Exclusive film stills show Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth ... - The Independent | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Independent
Before I Go To Sleep: Exclusive film stills show Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth ..

 

These emotive images depict Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman as a woman who wakes up every morning remembering nothing in the forthcoming film Before I Go to Sleep..

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The science of fiction - News@Northeastern

The science of fiction - News@Northeastern | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
News@Northeastern
The science of fiction

 

Though that may be true, Goshgarian’s sci­ence back­ground has played no small part in the development—and success—of his novels, the first of which was pub­lished in 1980. In addi­tion to studying physics in col­lege, he honed his sci­en­tific knowl­edge while working as a project physi­cist at the Raytheon Com­pany, where he spent the sum­mers of his sopho­more, junior, and senior years. Over the course of his 34-year writing career, his plots, char­ac­ters, and set­tings have been informed by his in-depth inter­views with sci­en­tists, biol­o­gists, and even brain sur­geons. “The expe­ri­ences I had were absolutely essen­tial for me to write the books I do,” says Gosh­garian, whose nom de plume is Gary Braver. “I wouldn’t know how to frame my ques­tions to the experts without my tech­nical background.”

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Samuel Beckett's articulation of unceasing inner speech - The Guardian (blog)

Samuel Beckett's articulation of unceasing inner speech - The Guardian (blog) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Guardian (blog)

Samuel Beckett's articulation of unceasing inner speech

 

From psychologist Louis Sass and philospher Gilles Deleuze, who first spoke of a "schizoid voice" in Beckett's work, to investigators on the recent Beckett and Brain Science project, critics have highlighted correspondences between the distorted perceptions of Beckett's characters and a wide gamut of psychiatric disorders. Nonetheless, this pathological framework of interpretation can be, if not reversed, at least complemented by non-pathological approaches which draw on contemporary cognitive research.

 

In fact, recent research in cognitive science and other fields has shown that hearing voices is more common than we think, including among people with no psychiatric diagnosis. The restless sound of our inner speech is a key experience of this commonality.

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Chicago: reading the midwestern metropolis of American literature - The Guardian (blog)

Chicago: reading the midwestern metropolis of American literature - The Guardian (blog) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Guardian (blog)

Chicago: reading the midwestern metropolis of American literature

 

In 1920 the literary critic and satirist HL Mencken wrote in the Nation that Chicago is the "Literary Capital of the United States". Given the city's relative provinciality, marooned way out in the Midwest, it is perhaps a surprising claim. And yet this is a city that can lay claim to being the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway and Philip K Dick; the alma mater of Philip Roth and Kurt Vonnegut, who both studied at its university after the second world war; and during the 1920s, the unexpected cultural centre of European modernism. So how to narrow down a reading list from an ever expanding range of possibilities?

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A Highland fling: Starz brings ‘Outlander’ novels to life

A Highland fling: Starz brings ‘Outlander’ novels to life | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Author/scientist Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series, which has sold more than 25 million copies, combines sci-fi, romance and time travel. After a long journey, Ronald D. Moore of “Battlestar Galactica” fame has brought her novels to TV.
Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

I did not know that Diana Gabaldon was a scientist before she was a novelist.

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No, Dystopian Sci-Fi Isn't Bad for Society. We Need It More Than Ever - Wired

No, Dystopian Sci-Fi Isn't Bad for Society. We Need It More Than Ever - Wired | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
No, Dystopian Sci-Fi Isn't Bad for Society.

 

That much of Michael Solana’s recent op-ed in this space is undoubtedly true. With widespread surveillance, the militarization of police, the stockpiling and application of data detailing minute aspects of our lives, our lives are increasingly dominated by technology—the workings of which the average citizen doesn’t fully understand, much less has control over. Wealth gaps, global warming, and seemingly boundless intolerance give us good reason to wonder how much time humans have left before we completely annihilate ourselves—and that’s a terrifying, heartbreaking sentence to type, no matter how many times other people have typed it.

 

But Solana’s accusation that an influx of dystopian science fiction as guilty of somehow exacerbating this fear is troubling. Dystopian fiction mimics what it actually feels like to be in the world, so if it ends up scaring people, well, that’s because the world is scary.

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Louise Erdrich wins Dayton Literary Peace Prize's distinguished achievement award

Louise Erdrich wins Dayton Literary Peace Prize's distinguished achievement award | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
CINCINNATI — Author Louise Erdrich, whose writings chronicle contemporary Native American life through characters representing its mix of heritages and cultures, was announced Sunday as the winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize's distinguished achievement award
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7 Feminist Men of Literature (But, Seriously, Where Are the Others?) - Bustle

7 Feminist Men of Literature (But, Seriously, Where Are the Others?

 

The “Great Feminist Men” of Literature are an anemic bunch — their records are marred by some pretty questionable moral choices, which aren’t the most feminist of actions, admittedly. However, the guys I picked for this list do get points for their dedication to equality for all and a general sense of ethics, especially in some of their specific eras; in other words, a desire to do the right thing. And in the pretty rough landscape of misogyny in lit, that’s something.  

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15 Real-Life Scientists Share Their Favorite Science Fiction Books, Movies - Huffington Post

15 Real-Life Scientists Share Their Favorite Science Fiction Books, Movies - Huffington Post | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
15 Real-Life Scientists Share Their Favorite Science Fiction Books, Movies
Huffington Post

 

There's a big difference between science and science fiction, but there's abundant evidence to suggest that sci-fi books and movies can spark a lifelong interest in science.

 

"The best of the science fiction films will stimulate a curiosity and an interest in a topic," astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of New York's Hayden Planetarium, told Vanity Fair in a recent interview.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

This is worth looking at just for the animated GIFs.

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Why Reese Witherspoon Isn't the 'Gone Girl' and 3 Other Secrets from the Fall Thriller - Yahoo News

Why Reese Witherspoon Isn't the 'Gone Girl' and 3 Other Secrets from the Fall Thriller - Yahoo News | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Yahoo News
Why Reese Witherspoon Isn't the 'Gone Girl' and 3 Other Secrets from the Fall ...

 

When a novel becomes a bestseller, Hollywood usually comes knocking. In the case of Gillian Flynn’s 2012 hit novel Gone Girl, Reese Witherspoon was the one at the door looking to nab the rights. Part psychological crime thriller, part twisted love story, Gone Girl is the saga of a man named Nick, who’s suspected of murdering his missing wife Amy. The movie, due in theaters Oct. 3, stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, and not Witherspoon, who ended up producing. Entertainment Weekly's new issue, on stands Friday, reveals why Witherspoon isn’t in the hotly anticipated movie, along with more secrets about bringing the book to the big screen:

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D​id Harry Potter Influence The Political Views of Millennials? - io9

D​id Harry Potter Influence The Political Views of Millennials? - io9 | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
SBS
Did Harry Potter Influence The Political Views of Millennials?
io9

 

Kids who grew up reading the Harry Potter books are voting in U.S. elections. And now a new study says the adventures of the young wizard might have cast an enduring spell on its fans, subtly shaping their values and political views. The Millennial Generation is actually the Muggle Generation.

 

Anthony Gierzynski, a political scientist at the University of Vermont, interviewed more than 1,100 Millennial-aged college students across the nation. He found that young people who grew up as Harry Potter fans are more open to diversity and are more politically tolerant than nonfans. The fans are also less likely to support the use of deadly force or torture, more politically active and more likely to have had a negative view of the Bush administration. Gierzynski says these correlations remained significant even when applying more sophisticated statistical analyses — controlling for other factors, such as parental influences.

... books had "brainwashed" Millennials.

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More Than a Century Later, Sophia Tolstoy Has Her Say - New York Times

More Than a Century Later, Sophia Tolstoy Has Her Say - New York Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
New York Times
More Than a Century Later, Sophia Tolstoy Has Her Say

 

In her long and often turbulent marriage to Leo Tolstoy, Sophia Andreevna Tolstoy put up with a lot, but “The Kreutzer Sonata” qualified as special punishment. Published in 1889, the story presented Tolstoy’s increasingly radical views on sexual relations and marriage through a frenzied monologue delivered by a narrator who, in a fit of jealousy and disgust, murdered his wife.

 

In her diary, Sophia wrote: “I do not know how or why everyone connected ‘The Kreutzer Sonata’ with our own married life, but this is what has happened.” Members of the Tolstoy family circle and the czar himself had expressed pity for her, she complained. “And it isn’t just other people,” she added. “I, too, know in my heart that this story is directed against me, and that it has done me a great wrong, humiliated me in the eyes of the world and destroyed the last vestiges of love between us.”

 

Convinced that the story was “untrue in everything relating to a young woman’s experiences,” Sophia wrote two novellas setting forth her own views, “Whose Fault?” and “Song Without Words,” which both languished in the archives of the Tolstoy Museum until their recent rediscovery

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TIFF.net |

TIFF.net | | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Upcoming film adaptation of Lisa Genova's novel "Still Alice."

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Why death is so important in YA fiction - The Guardian

Why death is so important in YA fiction - The Guardian | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Guardian

Why death is so important in YA fiction

 

If you read a lot of YA books you'll be aware of the dark themes permeating current plotlines. The use of death across a range of imaginative and heartfelt storylines is a key component of this darker, growing genre of fiction.

 

Personally, I think YA readers are all the richer for it, because the characters in these stories are forced to consider how death shapes life; not only in the philosophical sense of grappling with the nature of existence but also practically, in terms of how to live, how to be.

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A Native American Story That Leaves 'Feathers Or Leather' Cliches Behind - NPR

A Native American Story That Leaves 'Feathers Or Leather' Cliches Behind - NPR | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
NPR

A Native American Story That Leaves 'Feathers Or Leather' Cliches Behind

 

Patty Limerick, an historian and director of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado Boulder, says Winter in the Blood adds an important dimension to Native American characters on screen.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

A look at the film version of the novel "Winter in the Blood" by Native American James Welch.

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Arguable Merits: Young Adult Fiction and Its Rabid Discontents - PopMatters

Arguable Merits: Young Adult Fiction and Its Rabid Discontents - PopMatters | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
PopMatters

Arguable Merits: Young Adult Fiction and Its Rabid Discontents \

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

If you're up for a long read, this is a good summary of the on-going (ceaseless) controversy over YA literature.

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Random House, Inc. Academic Resources | Madame Bovary's Ovaries by David P. Barash and Nanelle R. Barash

Random House, Inc. Academic Resources | Madame Bovary's Ovaries by David P. Barash and Nanelle R. Barash | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Madame Bovary's Ovaries: Literary criticism seen through the lens of evolutionary biology http://t.co/ImY8CYm3MM h/t @Hashestweets

 

The ways we fall in—and out—of love, stand by our friends, compete against our enemies, and squabble with our families have their roots in biological imperatives we share not only with other primates but with an amazing array of other creatures. The result is a new way to read, a novel approach to novels (and plays) that reveals how human nature underlies literature, from the great to the not-so-great.

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The 20-Year Old Who Dated Her Dad—And Then Wrote A Book About It - The New Republic

The 20-Year Old Who Dated Her Dad—And Then Wrote A Book About It - The New Republic | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The 20-Year Old Who Dated Her Dad—And Then Wrote A Book About It The New Republic

 

At the very peak of memoir-mania, Kathryn Harrison released The Kiss, a detailed account of her incestuous relationship with her father. As James Wolcott recounts below, her relationship was not one of "childhood exploitation, but a consensual act between two adults." Harrison was twenty years old when the affair began, and yes, she was fully aware he was her father.

 

As one would expect, the book triggered an outpouring of responses from the literary community, mostly regarding the question of why Harrison would make public the details of such a taboo relationship. The memoir proved divisive among critics, with writers like Wolcott deriding Harrison's decision to publish such spilled guts as "opportunism [which] oozes from every pore of The Kiss and its launch." Meanwhile, The New York Times called it "beautifully written" and "a powerful piece of writing." Now, seventeen years later, it's worth reading Wolcott's scathing critique and asking the same question he does: Is the publication of such intensely personal information necessary for catharsis, or simply irresponsible?

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Christa Wojo's curator insight, August 18, 6:25 PM

Left a little comment here on what I thought of this porqueria.

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Finding My Voice in Fantasy - New York Times (blog)

Finding My Voice in Fantasy - New York Times (blog) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
New York Times (blog)

Finding My Voice in Fantasy

 

But while I was busy with literary fiction, fantasy had been busy too. When I was a kid, fantasy felt like a marginal thing, a subculture, but now it was everywhere: the “Harry Potter” books, the “Lord of the Rings” movies, the “His Dark Materials” trilogy, “Eragon,” “Twilight,” and on and on. People craved it. We — as a whole, as a culture — seemed to be getting more interested in the kinds of questions fantasy deals with: questions about history, and about our connection to the natural world, and about power, how to find it in yourself, how to master it, what to do with it.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Novelist Lev Grossman discovers how fantasy allows his writing to blossom.

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Celebrating Lafcadio Hearn - Irish Times

Celebrating Lafcadio Hearn - Irish Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Celebrating Lafcadio Hearn

Irish Times

 

Hearn’s career as a writer included ground-breaking journalism in an enormous volume of reports, feature articles and essays for US newspapers and magazines in which he pioneered the literary narrative style of the late 19th century and anticipated the new journalism of the mid-20th. His enormous and eclectic oeuvre spans African-American folklore and music, literary criticism, Creole cuisine, world cultures, religions, crime, travel writing, cartoons, illustrations and ghost stories; then there are his translations of the leading French writers like Maupassant and Flaubert, a proto-magic realism book, two novels, and finally 14 books on Japanese culture and folklore.

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Talking to Lois Lowry About the Movie Version of The Giver - Vulture

Talking to Lois Lowry About the Movie Version of The Giver - Vulture | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
USA TODAY
Talking to Lois Lowry About the Movie Version of The Giver
Vulture

 

 Lois Lowry is now a slightly salty 77, with a sort of Elaine Stritch side-mouth speech and no Mother Goose orb about her. It’s a misty morning in late July, and I’m in Bridgton, Maine, watching the young-adult god as she separates cardboard boxes from newspapers and bottles, two days before she heads to Comic-Con, where she’s been roped into a panel with Jeff Bridges to promote the film adaptation of her 1993 classic The ­Giver—the start of a publicity tour, followed by a major movie release, which will make her dystopian novel, one of the most beloved books of the YA “golden age,” a whole other kind of famous. Bridges, a lead producer, plays the supporting role of the title character; the movie also stars Meryl Streep and Taylor Swift. “There are those, I think, who are attracted to the glitz of celebrity life,” Lowry tells me. “I am not one of them.”

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Top 10 Books About Reading & Writing For Book Lovers - HamletHub

Top 10 Books About Reading & Writing For Book Lovers - HamletHub | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Top 10 Books About Reading & Writing For Book Lovers

HamletHub 

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