Literature & Psychology
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At Folk Fest, lots of pictures tell a story - Atlanta Journal Constitution

At Folk Fest, lots of pictures tell a story - Atlanta Journal Constitution | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
At Folk Fest, lots of pictures tell a story
Atlanta Journal Constitution

 

the storytellers whose works overflow more than 90 booths express themselves in vividly hued oils and acrylics (among other media).

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The Strange Ascent of 'Strained Pulp' - New York Times

The Strange Ascent of 'Strained Pulp' - New York Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Strange Ascent of 'Strained Pulp'
New York Times

 

In his 2012 review of the Steven Soderbergh film “Haywire”in The New York Times, A. O. Scott identified and named a new phenomenon in popular culture: strained pulp. “Nowadays,” he wrote, “everyone must love (or at least pretend to love) pleasures that were supposedly once disdained or taken for granted: dive bars, street food, trashy films. But knowing, sophisticated attempts to replicate those things often traffic in their own kind of snobbery, confusing condescension with authenticity. Movies like ‘The American,’ ‘Drive’ and now ‘Haywire’ offer strained pulp, neither as dumb as we want them to be nor as smart as they think they are and not, in the end, all that much fun.”

 

It’s certainly true that much of what was once regarded (and dismissed) as disposable lowbrow culture now enjoys an unprecedented artistic and critical prestige. Are we truly seeing the ascent of a new classification of culture? If so, what are we gaining — or losing — in the process?

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A new middle ground in the dichotomy between "high brow" and "low brow" culture?

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TOP SHELF: 12 Best of the US: 'Bless Me, Ultima' - Monitor

TOP SHELF: 12 Best of the US: 'Bless Me, Ultima' - Monitor | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
TOP SHELF: 12 Best of the US: 'Bless Me, Ultima'

Monitor

 

This is the fourth in a retrospective reviewing of what I consider to be the 12 best American novels, presented in roughly reverse chronological order.


In 1972, after six years of painstaking work to craft just the right voice and two years struggling to find a publisher, Rudolfo Anaya released through the revolutionary small press Quinto Sol what would become the bestselling Mexican-American novel in history: Bless Me. Ultima.

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"Tell Me a Story: Metaphysics and the Literary Criticism of Robert Penn Warren and Wendell Berry

Abstract

Robert Penn Warren and Wendell Berry share more than a home state. Both have produced prodigious and varied literary oeuvres that include accomplished fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and both have written extensively on literature’s indispensable function within a healthy culture. This latter shared vision is not unanimously held in academic literary scholarship. In fact, many contemporary critics, who often see literature as a mere material participant in potentially oppressive power structures, oppose the idea that literature serves a valid and definable social function, or at least regard it with skepticism. For this reason, Warren’s and Berry’s views of literature’s proper function provide a productive counterpoint to much contemporary literary criticism.

 

 

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An ambitious master's thesis

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PsyArt: An Online Journal for the Psychological Study of the Arts

PsyArt is an online, peer-reviewed journal featuring articles using a psychological approach to the arts. We provide a rapid publication decision and a large and international readership. The journal is open to any psychology and any art, although PsyArt specializes in psychoanalytic psychology and literature or film.

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This is definitely a scholarly, academic journal, but just reading the article titles is fascinating.

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The Maid's Version, by Daniel Woodrell - Irish Times

The Maid's Version, by Daniel Woodrell - Irish Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Maid's Version, by Daniel Woodrell
Irish Times


Southern Gothic unleashes full fury in this masterful narrative from one of the finest writers at work. Daniel Woodrell, Ozark-born and -based, appears to have absorbed something elemental from the eerie plateau region of the central United States. He understands the essential menace deep within human nature and that the savage tends to stalk art at its most sublime.

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Interview: Erin Kelly | Crime Fiction Lover

Interview: Erin Kelly | Crime Fiction Lover | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
A leading light in the new generation of psychological crime writers, Erin Kelly’s 2010 debut The Poison Tree was praised by Stephen King, who compared its powerful suspense to Daphne ...

 

Do you feel your chosen genre is removed from the literature you studied at university or is psychology crucial to all types of novel?


Psychology is at the heart of every good story. You can’t write a good story unless you understand human nature because most plots are still driven by relationships – Macbeth, Great Expectations, Wuthering Heights. Now if I read a really good book, sometimes I’ll go back immediately and re-read it to see what makes it work. It’s like taking apart an engine. The last time I did it was Broken Harbour by Tana French. A long time ago I did it with The Secret History as well.

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How the Great Depression Spawned Literary Masterworks - Bloomberg

How the Great Depression Spawned Literary Masterworks - Bloomberg | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Bloomberg
How the Great Depression Spawned Literary Masterworks

 

The Great Depression was one of the most desperate periods in U.S. history, and one of the most important in American literature.

 

When the stock market crashed in October 1929 and the hectic prosperity of the 1920s gave way to mass unemployment, the crisis energized American writers. After a decade in which the literary experiments of the Modernists -- Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, T.S. Eliot -- dominated the scene, a new wave of writers began to look to politics and economics for inspiration.

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Research examines how books can have a positive impact on a child's social struggles - Science Codex

Research examines how books can have a positive impact on a child's social struggles - Science Codex | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Research examines how books can have a positive impact on a child's social struggles

 

Bowman's study examined parents' use of what's called bibliotherapy -- using books as interventions for children who experience social struggles that may arise from disabilities such as autism or Down Syndrome.

 

Bibliotherapy involves books with characters that are facing challenges similar to their reading audience, or books that have stories that can generate ideas for problem-solving activities and discussions. Bowman says previous research found that bibliotherapy can improve communication, attitude and reduce aggression for children with social disabilities.

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On television, it's the age of villains - Akron Beacon Journal

On television, it's the age of villains - Akron Beacon Journal | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
On television, it's the age of villains
Akron Beacon Journal

 

It’s more complicated when you write the end for a villain. Unlike a hero, who can ride off into the sunset, the story of a villain leaves the audience wrestling with the basic question of how much he or she should get away with — and what, in that context, constitutes a happy ending.

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Meg Wolitzer: 'The character is not standing for women everywhere. I had to ... - The Guardian

Meg Wolitzer: 'The character is not standing for women everywhere. I had to ... - The Guardian | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Guardian
Meg Wolitzer: 'The character is not standing for women everywhere. I had to ...

 

Fiction asks a lot of people, says Meg Wolitzer, "to tell them that you need to learn about these characters, to take time out in your day from being frightened for your livelihood and your children, to think about Susan and Bill, who don't exist. It's a nervy thing to ask." She asks it of herself every time she sits down to write – "What fiction ought to do" – and the answer had better be good. "The anxiety makes me a stronger writer."

 

The Interestings, Wolitzer's ninth novel, is more ambitious than any she has written so far, tracking a group of friends from the moment they meet, at summer camp, up through the decades of their lives. It has done very well in the US, so that at 54, Wolitzer has become, as a friend joked to her recently, "a 30-year overnight success". The novel deserves acclaim, but it is a surprising hit, perhaps, given its subject matter and the downbeat nature of the heroine. It is a novel about envy, but not in the grand sense. Rather, it unpicks the insidious resentment that grows between friends who start out in the same place and whose fortunes diverge. "Nobody tells you how long you should keep doing something," she writes of the least successful in the circle, "before you give up forever."

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Little Libertarians on the prairie - BostonGlobe.com

Starting with Little House in the Big Woods” in 1932, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, about a family bravely confronting the frontier, became American children’s classics.

 

A close examination of the Wilder family papers suggests that Wilder’s daughter did far more than transcribe her mother’s pioneer tales: She shaped them and turned them from recollections into American fables, changing details where necessary to suit her version of the story. And if those fables sound like a perfect expression of Libertarian ideas—maximum personal freedom and limited need for the government—that’s no accident. Lane, and to an extent her mother, were affronted by taxes, the New Deal, and what they saw as Americans’ growing reliance on Washington. Eventually, as Lane became increasingly antigovernment, she would pursue her politics more openly, writing a strident political treatise and playing an important if little-known role inspiring the movement that eventually coalesced into the Libertarian Party.

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A look at how journalist Rose Wilder Lane shaped her mother's "Little House" books into a libertarian manifesto.

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Reality, Religion, and Politics in the Fiction of Philip K. Dick

Reality, Religion, and Politics in the Fiction of Philip K. Dick | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

This project was originally a disseratation on Philip K. Dick written by Aaron Barlow. philipKdick.com is pleased to present these insightful and expertly written essays on the science fiction and philosophy of PKD. There is plenty for the new and old fan of Philip K. Dick to enjoy.

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This web site is a bonanza of information for anyone interested in Philip K. Dick and his work.

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In 'Alphabet' Mysteries, 'S' Is Really For Santa Barbara - NPR

In 'Alphabet' Mysteries, 'S' Is Really For Santa Barbara - NPR | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
NPR
In 'Alphabet' Mysteries, 'S' Is Really For Santa Barbara

 

Novelist Sue Grafton is a real hoot. She's just as likely to talk, in that native Kentucky drawl of hers, about her prized silver-coin mint julep cups as about a juicy murder mystery. But she does have a crime writer's imagination.

 

"I always say to people, 'Don't cross me, OK? Because you will be so sorry,'" she says. "'I have ways to kill you you ain't even thought of yet.'"

 

Grafton is famous for her "Alphabet" mystery series. Private investigator Kinsey Millhone is the heroine , but the novels' setting also plays a starring role: Millhone lives and works in Santa Teresa, a fictional town based on Santa Barbara, Calif.

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Fact or fiction? Easthampton artist Susan Montgomery ponders legend of Pope Joan- GazetteNET

Fact or fiction? Easthampton artist Susan Montgomery ponders legend of Pope Joan- GazetteNET | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Fact or fiction? Easthampton artist Susan Montgomery ponders legend of Pope Joan

 

With some stories, what matters is not the factual accuracy, but how evocatively they echo in our experience and why they feel so intuitively true to life. For Susan Montgomery, the how and the why of narrative are more vital than historical fact alone. And in paintings and sculptures that loom larger than life size, she investigates the alluring, yet ultimately ambiguous story of Pope Joan, who may — or may not — have reigned for several years in the ninth century.

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Karen Black: Perfectly Misunderstood - Huffington Post

Karen Black: Perfectly Misunderstood - Huffington Post | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Karen Black: Perfectly Misunderstood
Huffington Post

 

I plan fastidiously with storyboards and shotlists in pursuit of the dramatic truth. Karen sought the same truth, but through jarringly different means. She was not one for labels (though she was given many). Her unique ability to create character came so honestly from her refusal to define herself in the past or the future. It gave her a kind of freedom in her work and life that allowed her to connect so deeply and give herself so completely to every performance, and to every one of her friends. A freedom so many of us long for but never quite achieve.

 

Karen loved language and knew what a loaded word could convey, even if she could never completely throw off the misunderstandings and labels that dogged her throughout her life. I watched Karen create a character in my film, a character I labeled Bi-polar, that she brought to life with the tenderness of a mother and the respect of a friend. This was a process that could not be explained in words or clarified by any contrivance, method or school of thought. Karen instinctively moved into the dramatic action and effortlessly stood in the light.

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Vladimir Makanin: On writing as chess play - Russia Beyond The Headlines

Vladimir Makanin: On writing as chess play - Russia Beyond The Headlines | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Vladimir Makanin: On writing as chess play
Russia Beyond The Headlines

 

RG: Your first works raced out like new comets, yet you seem to write with such ease. Does this apparent ease belie the process of writing?


VM: Again back to chess: “The victor is he who wins while playing blacks.” To win with whites is to write like other people do, and rack up fast points. But to write a novella or novel on uncharted territory with new types of characters is a game played with blacks.

 

RG: Do you write your stories from beginning to end?


VM: No, I write in sections. I write key scenes randomly and sometimes I start from the end.

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200 Years of Books Prove That City-Living Changes Our Psychology - The Atlantic Cities

200 Years of Books Prove That City-Living Changes Our Psychology - The Atlantic Cities | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Atlantic Cities
200 Years of Books Prove That City-Living Changes Our Psychology

 

UCLA researcher Patricia Greenfield has long suspected that the environment around us influences our psychology – not in the classic sense that our family life or peer groups sway our behavior, but in a much broader way. Human psychology adapts differently, she theorized, to rural settings than to urban ones.

 

Rural living, with its subsistence economies, simpler technologies, and close-knit communities, demands of people a greater sense of deference to authority and duty to each other. Urbanization, on the other hand, generally comes with greater wealth and education, and complex technology and commerce. Adapt to life in a city, and a different set of values becomes more important: for starters, personal choice, property accumulation, and materialism.

. . .

Greenfield's theory borrows from psychology, sociology, and anthropology. But the evidence mostly comes from literature, a collection of 1,160,000 English-language popular and academic books published between 1800 and 2000. If American culture and psychology grew more individualistic as the country urbanized, wouldn't that transformation be clear in the words from American books (and the concepts that lie behind them)?

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America's Nobel: The Neustadt International Prize for Literature

America's Nobel: The Neustadt International Prize for Literature | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Publishing Perspectives took the opportunity to talk about the prize's 44 year history — and this year's nominees — with Dr. Robert Con Davis-Undiano, executive director of World Literature Today, the journal that administers ...

 

The quality of the jurors is a factor Davis-Undiano returns to again and again. The prize organizers choose between seven and ten judges (“we simply choose the best writers in the world to be on the jury”) and “…we try to make sure that each jury has a balance of Eastern, Western, African, Middle-Eastern, etc.”  In addition, Davis-Undiano mentions an international circle of “roughly 800 advisers… [who] keep us informed about who has currently entered that pool of writers to watch. We simply tell the jurors that the writers they nominate must be living and must be willing to come to our campus to accept the award if they win.  The process is made considerably more complicated owing to the fact that the jurors may pick poets, playwrights, fiction, and non-fiction prose writers. Essentially, the contest for a winner could easily come down to a poet running against a playwright. The jurors have to be sophisticated in their approach to see how someone’s poetry stacks up against someone else’s play. They have a difficult job to do, but they are professional writers and are up to the task.”

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Author, Feminist, Pioneer: The Unlikely Queen Of Sci-Fi - NPR

Author, Feminist, Pioneer: The Unlikely Queen Of Sci-Fi - NPR | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Author, Feminist, Pioneer: The Unlikely Queen Of Sci-Fi

NPR

 

We can go to science fiction for its sense of wonder, its power to take us to far-off places and future times. We can go to political fiction to understand injustice in our own time, to see what should change. We may go to poetry — epic or lyric, old or new — for what cannot change, for a sense of human limits, as well as for the music in its words.

 

And if we want all those things at once — a sense of escape, a sense of injustice, a sense of mortality and an ear for language — we can read the stories of James Tiptree Jr., real name Alice Sheldon.

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I mother with my brain, not just my body - Salon

I mother with my brain, not just my body - Salon | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Salon
I mother with my brain, not just my body
Salon
I had lived through language and culture, you see, far more than nature.

 

The first of many ways to reach my daughter, you see, was not through the promised and militated wonder of my rosy-hued aureole snapping into a perfect latch. Instead, it was via the black-and-white pictures – black and white op-art – I pasted on the wall above her changing table. When she saw them, and the tile coasters with similar black-and-white geometries, her body flexed, limbs waving. Nothing before had equaled her fascination at witnessing a black outline of a jumping jack on a white background, or a black-and-white checkerboard. Her happiness at encountering an image easily rivaled that of any enthusiast and certainly any critic. In a moment, I understood her, or at least part of her. That was when our love story began in earnest.

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Fiction in 2043: Looking back from the future - The Guardian

Fiction in 2043: Looking back from the future - The Guardian | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Guardian

Fiction in 2043: Looking back from the future

 

While books in the sense of objects printed on paper still exist, the preferred name to designate the multiplicity of forms is titles (this sounding better than the popular...

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Entertaining, informative, or annoying? You decide.

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At Chekhov’s Estate, a Pastoral Literary Shrine Belies a Turbulent Century

At Chekhov’s Estate, a Pastoral Literary Shrine Belies a Turbulent Century | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

The museum represents the toil of a few determined individuals who overcame the ravages, or simply the neglect, of Soviet power. Today it is not just a shrine to one of the world’s great writers, but also a witness to more than a century of history.

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5 literary movements that shook the world

5 literary movements that shook the world | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

It’s not just wars and prime ministers that can change the world. The literary world may seem quiet and remote, sometimes, boxed away in libraries, its practitioners muttering to themselves in tiny box rooms-slash-studies and corners of the public library, but words have power, and their cumulative effect can rattle the world—culturally, politically and philosophically. What literary movements, then, have changed the very way we think? Here’s five to start with:

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Do We Know 'Chick Lit' When We See It? - Huffington Post

Do We Know 'Chick Lit' When We See It? - Huffington Post | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Do We Know 'Chick Lit' When We See It?

Huffington Post

 

What makes a book "chick lit" as opposed to literary fiction? This question is, in reality, not difficult to answer -- at least for any thoughtful reader who enjoys a variety of fiction -- but it continues to surface. And to be answered, ineptly and evasively, most recently by Salon's Daniel D'Addario.

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And the debate goes on. . .

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