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Of course John le Carré took liberties – he's a novelist - Telegraph.co.uk

Of course John le Carré took liberties – he's a novelist - Telegraph.co.uk | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Telegraph.co.uk
Of course John le Carré took liberties – he's a novelist

 

It warms the heart of any novelist when novels make news. The latest is an argument as to whether John le Carré, in basing George Smiley partly on an MI5 officer, John Bingham, did a disservice to Bingham and British intelligence.


In a letter to this paper, Lord Lexden, the historian, said that his friend Bingham disapproved of the way le Carré portrayed British intelligence in his novels. John le Carré responded by stressing his admiration for Bingham, while saying that: “Where Bingham believed that uncritical love of the Secret Services was synonymous with love of country, I came to believe that such love should be vigilantly examined.”


At the heart of this is a general question about the relationship between literature and life, and a specific one about the realities and perceptions of intelligence work. The benefit/disbenefit balance may not be what we think.

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The Profits of Dreaming: On Fiction and Sleep - The Millions

The Profits of Dreaming: On Fiction and Sleep - The Millions | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Millions
The Profits of Dreaming: On Fiction and Sleep

 

But the fact remains: no matter how many studies link fiction to empathy or dreaming to memory consolidation, we still don’t know conclusively what fiction or dreaming do for us, and perhaps we never will. It’s the most painful thorn in our side, this not-knowing, the eternal bane of human existence: we like to marvel at mystery, but we also like to contain it. Perhaps our limited tolerance for mystery has made us similarly resistant to the same in-between qualities in ourselves: irrationality, indecision, eccentricity. Yet peculiarity is as inherent to the human animal as muscle or bone. The mind is a beast in itself: like the body, it needs time and space to roam. In cordoning it off, we run the risk of alienating ourselves from the miraculous absurdity of life itself. We forget how to wonder, to drift. We forget that most questions in this world—the ones that really matter—are impossible to answer completely.

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Chevillard Probes Dichotomy between 'The Author and Me' - Harvard Crimson

Chevillard Probes Dichotomy between 'The Author and Me' - Harvard Crimson | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Chevillard Probes Dichotomy between 'The Author and Me'

Harvard Crimson

 

New Historicism, with its niggling concern for ever-more minute details of authors’ lives and these details’ effects, has reigned as a preeminent critical school for some 30 years, and, as its proponents delve into what seem to be increasingly unsure waters—did the reading of Lucretius really start the Renaissance, after all?—it seems that the time is ripe for a reexamination of the question. It is this question that Éric Chevillard examines in his new novel, “The Author and Me,” translated into fine workmanlike English by Jordan Stump. Purportedly setting out to prove the independence of the voices of narrator and character from their originator, he presents a haunting argument for the inescapability of the author.

 

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The Surprising Origin Story of Wonder Woman - Smithsonian

The Surprising Origin Story of Wonder Woman
Smithsonian

 

Wonder Woman is the most popular female comic-book superhero of all time. Aside from Superman and Batman, no other comic-book character has lasted as long. Generations of girls have carried their sandwiches to school in Wonder Woman lunchboxes. Like every other superhero, Wonder Woman has a secret identity. Unlike every other superhero, she also has a secret history.

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George Orwell's Guide to Writing Well

Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

This piece originally appeared in The New Republic June 17th, 1946.

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Read Slowly to Benefit Your Brain and Cut Stress

Read Slowly to Benefit Your Brain and Cut Stress | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
At least 30 minutes of uninterrupted reading with a book or e-book helps.

 

Once a week, members of a Wellington, New Zealand, book club arrive at a cafe, grab a drink and shut off their cellphones. Then they sink into cozy chairs and read in silence for an hour.

 

The point of the club isn't to talk about literature, but to get away from pinging electronic devices and read, uninterrupted. The group calls itself the Slow Reading Club, and it is at the forefront of a movement populated by frazzled book lovers who miss old-school reading.

 

Slow reading advocates seek a return to the focused reading habits of years gone by, before Google, smartphones and social media started fracturing our time and attention spans. Many of its advocates say they embraced the concept after realizing they couldn't make it through a book anymore.

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Review: 'Olive Kitteridge' Continues the Existential Exploration of 'True Detective' - Indie Wire

Review: 'Olive Kitteridge' Continues the Existential Exploration of 'True Detective' - Indie Wire | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Review: 'Olive Kitteridge' Continues the Existential Exploration of 'True ...

 

"True Detective" may have inaugurated a new form of televisual fiction where storytelling is at the service of existential elaboration -- a bolder conception of seriality where narrative is still king but meditative cogitation is queen. Lisa Cholodenko's adaptation of the Pulitzer-winning book by Elizabeth Strout, "Olive Kitteridge" represents an interesting step in this direction, and one made, for once, by a woman telling the story of another woman. 

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10 Experimental Novels That Are Worth the Effort

10 Experimental Novels That Are Worth the Effort | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Today marks the US publication of Eimear McBride's A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing, a highly experimental, Joycean novel that, despite the fact that modern readers often eschew difficulty, has been h...
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Raising readers: Parents play crucial role in nurturing love for the written ... - Columbus Dispatch

Raising readers: Parents play crucial role in nurturing love for the written ... - Columbus Dispatch | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Columbus Dispatch
Raising readers: Parents play crucial role in nurturing love for the written ...
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Almost all the books people say influenced them were written for children

Almost all the books people say influenced them were written for children | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Facebook's data scientists crunched the numbers on a meme you've probably seen going around.


Via Luca Baptista
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Murder, they wrote, using this doctor's ingenious ideas - Los Angeles Times

Murder, they wrote, using this doctor's ingenious ideas

Los Angeles Times

 

He spends two days a week saving patients' lives at his Laguna Hills heart clinic. The rest of the time, he writes crime novels and tries to answer other crime writers' questions about how to end their characters' lives in weird — but scientifically plausible — ways.

 

When your Mac isn't working, you go to the Genius Bar. When your car won't start, you find a mechanic. When you want to find out how long your character will live if his body is stripped of skin, or what kind of poison a killer in medieval Europe might use, or whether a body mummifies if it's been bricked into a wall for several years, you call [cardiologist Dr. Douglas] Lyle.

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Professor's new book explores theories of place - The Bowdoin Orient

Professor's new book explores theories of place - The Bowdoin Orient | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Bowdoin Orient
Professor's new book explores theories of place

 

For years scholars have been experimenting with compiling readings in the discipline. “The People, Place, and Space Reader” contains texts from geography, anthropology, psychology, architecture, urban studies and even a piece by Virginia Woolf about not being allowed entrance to the Oxford Library.

 

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These Books Won't Change Your Life: A Guide to Literary Self-Help

These Books Won't Change Your Life: A Guide to Literary Self-Help | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Does reading make you a better person? Will fiction improve your empathy? Can great literature fix your relationship? The publishing industry seems to think so: literary appreciation as self-help is one of its most irritating recent trends. Pioneered by Alain de Botton, the genre—a first cousin to the biblio-autobigraphy,  but with Buzzfeed-worthy titles—has a new, and unlikely, entry: How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life, a conservative economist’s attempt to show how the father of capitalism offers a guide to happiness. Here’s a brief and incomplete guide to the lit crit life coach genre.

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Sara Paretsky: By the Book

Sara Paretsky: By the Book | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The author of the V. I. Warshawski novels, most recently “Critical Mass,” was hugely influenced by “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”: “I felt as though I’d fallen into words and wanted to drown in them.”

 

Which do you consider the best detective stories of all time, and why?

 

Anna Katharine Green, for defining the consulting detective for the 19th century; Wilkie Collins, for playing with the form and transforming it; Dashiell Hammett, for reinventing the form for the 20th century; the Holmes oeuvre, for making detective fiction popular in both Great Britain and America; Amanda Cross and Lillian O’Donnell, for opening the door that enabled Marcia Muller, Linda Barnes, Sue Grafton and me to challenge the form in new ways.

 

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Three novels explain why it is so hard to get justice for rape victims - Washington Post

Three novels explain why it is so hard to get justice for rape victims - Washington Post | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Three novels explain why it is so hard to get justice for rape victims Washington Post

 

three extraordinary novels released in the past three years are more interested in the sort of uncertainties we hope we might be able to banish.

 

“Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage,” the most recent novel from Haruki Murakami, “The Interestings,” by Meg Wolitzer and Teju Cole’s debut novel, “Open City,” all involve adult protagonists grappling with accusations of sexual assault from their youth. Each book has a slightly different arc. But each provides a powerful portrait of why people might refuse to seek out and accept the truth about a rape allegation.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Spoiler alert: This post discusses the plots of “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage,” “The Interestings,” and “Open City” in some detail.

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Florida Frontiers: Forgotten novel preceded 'The Yearling' - Florida Today

Florida Frontiers: Forgotten novel preceded 'The Yearling' - Florida Today | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Florida Frontiers: Forgotten novel preceded 'The Yearling'
Florida Today

 

One of the first Florida novels ever written remained unpublished for more than 150 years.

 

For nearly five decades, the hand-written manuscript was preserved but forgotten in an archive at Rollins College

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The Welcome Return of Los Angeles Plays Itself - Miami New Times

The Welcome Return of Los Angeles Plays Itself - Miami New Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Welcome Return of Los Angeles Plays Itself

Miami New Times

 

Perhaps no work of filmed criticism does this as impressively as Los Angeles Plays Itself, Thom Andersen's three-hour treatise on the history of his city's depiction on the silver screen — now recut and remastered for its tenth anniversary. Derived and expanded from a lecture he delivered in the late 1990s at the California Institute of the Arts, the film surveys no less than a century in cinematic representation, constructed from clips excerpted from more than 200 feature films. A veritably encyclopedic tract, it grapples with subsidiary subjects as diverse as the reverberations of the Watts uprising, fake movie phone numbers, and, in one of the more memorable passages, Hollywood's sustained ideological war against the reputation of modernist architecture.

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Brain Scans to Forecast Early Reading Difficulties - ScienceBlog.com (blog)

ScienceBlog.com (blog) Brain Scans to Forecast Early Reading Difficulties

 

UC San Francisco researchers have used brain scans to predict how young children learn to read, giving clinicians a possible tool to spot children with dyslexia and other reading difficulties before they experience reading challenges.

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Literary truth - The Nation

Literary truth
The Nation
In A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens, famously criticized by E.M Forster for his failure to create round characters, nevertheless managed to create a universe where evil and virtue aren't divided across class lines.

 

An MA in English Literature might make you unemployable, but the one thing it does, if you’re lucky, is give you the ability to skirt the black and white of ideological opinion, and grapple for the complicated ‘truth’—rarely an idea as unequivocal as we tend to believe. One of the chief pleasures a deep study of literature may yield is that first thrill of realization that the narrator, who’s spun an imaginary world for us, may be unreliable, hacking away at the trust most people naively tend to attribute to the written word. The purpose of education, as opposed to merely literacy, is to facilitate complex cognition, which in studying literature can take the form of viewing the world – and fiction – as peopled by characters neither perfectly heroic nor absolutely villainous.

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Partisan Review Now Free Online: Read All 70 Years of the Preeminent Literary Journal (1934-2003)

Partisan Review Now Free Online: Read All 70 Years of the Preeminent Literary Journal (1934-2003) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Founded by William Phillips and Philip Rahv in February of 1934, leftist arts and politics magazine Partisan Review came about initially as an alternative to the American Communist Party’s publication, New Masses. While Partisan Review (PR) published many a Marxist writer, its politics diverged sharply from communism with the rise of Stalin. Perhaps this turn ensured the magazine’s almost 70-year run from ’34 to 2003, while New Masses folded in 1948. Partisan Review nonetheless remained a venue for some very heated political conversations (see more on which below), yet it has equally, if not more so, been known as one of the foremost literary journals of the 20th century.

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Haruki Murakami: 'I'm an outcast of the Japanese literary world. Critics ... - The Guardian

Haruki Murakami: 'I'm an outcast of the Japanese literary world. Critics ... - The Guardian | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Guardian
Haruki Murakami: 'I'm an outcast of the Japanese literary world. Critics ...

 

Murakami has often spoken of the theme of two dimensions, or realities, in his work: a normal, beautifully evoked everyday world, and a weirder supernatural realm, which may be accessed by sitting at the bottom of a well (as does the hero of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle), or by taking the wrong emergency staircase off a city expressway (as in 1Q84). Sometimes dreams act as portals between these realities. In Tsukuru Tazaki there is a striking sex dream, at the climax of which the reader is not sure whether Tsukuru is still asleep or awake. Yet Murakami hardly ever remembers his own dreams.

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Colleges reject charge that freshman reading lists have political bias

Colleges reject charge that freshman reading lists have political bias | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Colleges deny any political intent in their book selections. They say that they seek high-quality books that provoke debate and that they are encouraging it as an academic experience among all the other events and parties during those first few days on campus.
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INFOGRAPHIC: How Long Does It Take to Read Popular Books?

INFOGRAPHIC: How Long Does It Take to Read Popular Books? | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Ever wondered how long it takes to read The Great Gatsby (2.62 hours) compared to Atlas Shrugged (31.22 hours)? If so, you'll like this infographic by Personal Creations. It's similar to an infogra...

Via Sharon Bakar
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Absolultely flawless: Meet the most fashionable characters in literature

Absolultely flawless: Meet the most fashionable characters in literature | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Fashion in books is important. We'd even be as bold as to say that clothes make a character.

Without her black dress Truman Capote's Holly Golightly wouldn't be an effortlessly chic socialite. In Atonement, Robbie wouldn't have fantasised about Cecelia if she hadn't been wearing that green gown. And there would be no Miss Havisham without a wilted yellow wedding dress, in Dickens' Great Expectations.


Essentially, without these garments, all these characters would be incomplete, as their sartorial preferences means we are able to understand their personalities better, know a little bit about their pasts and what they're thinking.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Mouse over the individual images or click on one to begin a pop-up slideshow.

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The death of adulthood? Yes, please. - Washington Post (blog)

The death of adulthood? Yes, please. - Washington Post (blog) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The death of adulthood? Yes, please.
Washington Post (blog)

 

All really popular stories today are, to some extent, fairy tales. “Harry Potter” is a fairy tale. “Star Wars” is a fairy tale. “Batman” is a fairy tale. And fairy tale problems are not the problems of adulthood. They are deeper and less practical. The rise of what is termed YA, I would suggest, is actually a return to the kind of stories that cast larger shadows — the kind of fiction that is necessary. We need our stories in a way that we don’t need literature, per se. We need myths when we are struggling with uncomfortable questions, “too deep for utterance.” How to be. What to love. What to save and what to destroy.

 

That’s why stories have always existed, and why they’re so vital. And there’s nothing childish about it.

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Scotland: Literary Land of Multiple Personalities and Perspectives - Huffington Post

Scotland: Literary Land of Multiple Personalities and Perspectives Huffington Post

 

No doubt there are other examples of multiple perspectives and split personalities in Scottish literature; the titular character of Muriel Sparks' The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961), for example, combines sparkling wit and a penchant for fascism in a manner that is unsettling, to say the least. And of course the Scots don't have a monopoly on the genre: Joseph Conrad, Patricia Highsmith, Vladimir Nabokov, and Edgar Allan Poe have all made terrifically entertaining and thought-provoking uses of doubles, doppelgängers, and multiple personalities in their fictions. Regardless of the outcome of the Sept. 18 referendum on Scottish independence, however, I suspect that Scottish authors will continue to be particularly interested in questions of perspective identity -- whether split, doubled, or independent once more.

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