Literature & Psychology
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My hero: Jean Rhys by Linda Grant

My hero: Jean Rhys by Linda Grant | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
She is one of the 20th-century's greats: a novelist of yearning, rage and sexual desire

 

Rhys is mainly known for her novel Wide Sargasso Sea, a retelling of Jane Eyre from the perspective of the mad wife in the attic, and I scandalised an audience at the British Library a few years ago by claiming it was a greater novel than Charlotte Brontë's. Rhys in recent years has most often been seen her in the context of post-colonial writing, but it was the novels written and set in Paris in the 1930s that chilled me to the bone.

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Colleges tie academic subjects to pop culture

Colleges tie academic subjects to pop culture | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Colleges tie academic subjects to pop culture

USA TODAY

 

DETROIT -- It's not unusual for references to characters and plot lines from the HBO drama "The Wire" to pop up in professor David Harding's graduate-level public policy course at the University of Michigan.

 

In fact, it's to be expected.

 

After all, the entire class is structured around the critically acclaimed show.

The course, "Urban Public Policy Through the Lens of HBO's The Wire," uses the story lines of the TV drama and puts them into the context of real life.

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Higher Education, RIP

Higher Education, RIP | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Higher Education, RIP
Town Hall

 

Tenured faculty now teach less and less as the "drudge work" of dealing with undergraduates is shifted to a corps of slave laborers styled adjunct professors or TAs, teaching assistants. In both ill-paid categories, I learned mainly how little I knew. I had to conquer my embarrassment at that continuing revelation every time I stepped into a classroom in place of the real teacher who should have been there.

 

Now, one by one, the disciplines that were once the basis of a liberal education are eliminated as not worth the trouble. Literature, foreign languages, real history as opposed to current ideology, and the arts and sciences in general give way to simulacra with the telling label Studies after their name. As in Queer Studies or African Studies. (The other day I ran across a twofer: Queer African Studies.)

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

This critic overstates his case, but there is a layer of truth underneath.

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Nominations for Best Film About a Writer

Nominations for Best Film About a Writer | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Nominations for the most wishful Academy Awards category: Best Film About a Writer.
Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Read why Roger Rosenblatt has chosen "The Third Man" (1949), "Starting Out in the Evening" (2007), and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961) as the best films about writers.

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A real impostor's tale inspires fascinating fiction in 'Schroder'

A real impostor's tale inspires fascinating fiction in 'Schroder' | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
A real impostor's tale inspires fascinating fiction in 'Schroder'

Los Angeles Times

 

The risk with basing any novel on a true story is that — as the saying goes — truth is so frequently stranger than fiction. Choosing to novelize the curious tale of Christian Gerhartsreiter, the Rockefeller impersonator and con man who abducted his own daughter in 2009, is a particularly gutsy move.

 

So it's a testament to Amity Gaige's deftness as an author that her new novel, "Schroder," is a fascinating psychological portrait of love, longing and self-loathing — despite the countless magazine articles and TV special reports that Gerhartsreiter's exploits have already inspired.

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Loss of Language and Cultural Diversity

Loss of Language and Cultural Diversity | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Wade Davis -- Loss of Language and Cultural Diversity
OpEdNews

 

the plight of biological diversity is also paralleled by the plight of cultural diversity. It's interesting because no biologist would suggest that half the species in the world are at the brink of extinction: it is not true; and yet from the linguists we learn that, literally, of the 7000 languages that were spoken the day you were born, Fran, half are being taught to children, which means we are living through a time where half of humanities knowledge bases being eroded rapidly, you know, within a generation or two. And our position at [National] Geographic is that that doesn't have to happen.

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Sylvia Plath's London: 'When I came to my beloved Primrose Hill, with the ...

Sylvia Plath's London: 'When I came to my beloved Primrose Hill, with the ... | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Evening Standard
Sylvia Plath's London: 'When I came to my beloved Primrose Hill, with the ...

 

Plath’s London was one informed by history, literature and her imagination. As she later said in an interview, ‘You remember all the Dickens you read when you were little and suddenly you go to London and you recognise scenes you have seen before and this is simply, I think, a sort of literary influence. I was immensely excited by the historic sense of London… and again by the look of it — something about all the taxi cabs being black and rather like large, impressive hearses.’

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Fiction sheds light on South Africa's corrosive narrative of fear - Globe and Mail

Fiction sheds light on South Africa's corrosive narrative of fear - Globe and Mail | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Globe and Mail

Fiction sheds light on South Africa's corrosive narrative of fear

 

Nadine Gordimer’s 1998 novel The House Gun describes a familiar post-apartheid South Africa scenario: A white boy kills his housemate with “the house gun.” His parents cannot believe that he would do so deliberately. This narrative – white-on-white violence in a security-obsessed, gun-savvy, walled society – is in contrast to the other great narrative of white South African literature: arming oneself against the impoverished hordes outside the walls. And it is these two narratives – the “conflicting accounts” as the papers say – that are competing in the case of Oscar Pistorius.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

How literature mirrors society

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Values and National Security: The Need for Leaders Who Read

Values and National Security: The Need for Leaders Who Read | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Values and National Security: The Need for Leaders Who Read

Diplomatic Courier

 

In the age of asymmetrical warfare, foreign internal defense, and homeland security, the full continuum of conflict and security is worth examination, and literature offers no small amount of insight. Shusaku Endo’s Silence, for instance, revolves around the plight of Jesuit missionaries in 17th century Japan, where government authorities sought to purge their island nation of any vestige of Christianity. In this way, it is quite comparable to Graham Greene’s seminal work The Power and the Glory, in which Marxist paramilitary officials doggedly hunt down a nameless priest in the Mexican countryside of the 1930’s. Both novels present government figures of strikingly similar mind: in each case, they show no ability to separate their contempt for the religions they seek to eliminate from the threat to government control posed by those religions. Pride, hate, and faith—not coherent policies—are the driving forces on the ground, with devastating and unforgettable consequences. Silence describes the Japanese authorities’ torture of villagers in front of priests as a favored method to make the clerics renounce their beliefs, while Greene’s Mexican officials forgo the pursuit of a dangerous murderer in order to track down the novel’s religious protagonist.

 

Just as there are literary examples of personal enmities driving those in power, so too are there examples of such motivations inspiring those who fight against the establishment. A striking example of this can be found in Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Feast of the Goat, a fictionalized account of (among other things) the 1961 assassination of Dominican strongman Rafael Trujillo. The cast of characters responsible for the killing are each contextualized by their own backstories—backstories that are not primarily characterized by political motivations or high-minded desires to ensure a better future for the Dominican Republic; rather, each assassin has a story of some deep and personal slight, insult, or betrayal perpetrated by Trujillo. Each killer, that is, is shown in the novel to be complex and emotional in a manner that a non-fiction history would be unable to convey.

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Is Jonathan Franzen More Like John Lennon or Paul McCartney? - The Atlantic

Is Jonathan Franzen More Like John Lennon or Paul McCartney? - The Atlantic | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Is Jonathan Franzen More Like John Lennon or Paul McCartney?
The Atlantic

 

Sometimes a novel's power doesn't fully register the first time through. A first read, after all, should charm one into a willing state of suspended disbelief—reading that's spurred by the simple pleasure of the sentences, the humor and pathos, and a lust to discover what happens next. But it's easy to miss a book's literary merits this way—the wiring and gearwork and sweat that go into compelling literary narrative—until the second read comes in. In a rereading, you can stop being dazzled by the vehicle's sleek curves and take your first look under the hood.

 

Benjamin Nugent, author of the cultural history American Nerd, told me that he felt this way returning to Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections, a book he loved on the first go-around. Hailed by many as a classic of modern psychological "realism," it took Nugent a second time through to delve into the book's strange and multilayered symbolic underworld.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

On the benefits of rereading

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Swann Dives In by Charles Salzberg

Swann Dives In by Charles Salzberg | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Paste Magazine
Swann Dives In by Charles Salzberg

 

In my world of reviewing mysteries, the most creative and original writers of the genre leave no question about meeting a standard of “literature.” I’m not of the opinion that keeping a reader spellbound with suspense and richness of character in any way detracts from living up to that paradigm. Nor is mystery writing simply a commercially exploitive construction to capture its audience with high pace, violence and the conflict between good and evil. At its best it is, for me, literature with a level of excitement that derives from the depth and accuracy of human behavior under extreme circumstances of stress.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Jules Brenner incorporates discusion of whether mysteries qualify as "literary fiction" within his review of "Swann Dives In" by Charles Salzberg.

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How crime fiction has moved on

How crime fiction has moved on | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

The Independent
How crime fiction has moved on

 

But, unlike in the past, it has to be counter-balanced by psychology and good prose." What about when reading mysteries is your job?

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Inspired by an exhibit about crime fiction at the British Library, this article explains how mysteries have evolved from the classic whodunit to include more psychological depth.

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AmericanScience: A Team Blog: A Novel History of Psychology

AmericanScience: A Team Blog: A Novel History of Psychology | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Work on the interplay between science and literature has been dominated by scholars of the Victorian novel. Gillian Beer, George Levine, Nicholas Dames, Judith Ryan – all are Victorianists who put literature into dialogue with contemporaneous scientific ideas ranging from natural history to experimental psychology.

Now, with Thinking Without Thinking in the Victorian Novel—just out from Johns Hopkins University Press—Vanessa Ryan adds a new voice, and a new emphasis on the (pre-Freudian) unconscious, to the mix.

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'Fellow Mortals': a beguiling first novel shows how we're all connected

'Fellow Mortals': a beguiling first novel shows how we're all connected | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

'Fellow Mortals': a beguiling first novel shows how we're all connected
Pittsburgh Post Gazette

 

But a quiet tale that turns on the fortunes and misfortunes of the small group of ostensibly normal people who inhabit a short, suburban cul-de-sac? My hat is off to Dennis Mahoney for successfully ushering to market his beguiling debut novel, "Fellow Mortals."


A small, tight, deftly rendered tale, "Fellow Mortals" is the story of how a deadly fire on peaceable, wooded Arcadia Street changes the lives of the people (and one dog) touched by the fire. We watch as the denizens of this otherwise ordinary neighborhood interact after the fact, carrying their specific burdens of anger, grief, guilt, fear, hope and more. 
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New documents raise more doubts about credibility of Truman Capote's 'In Cold Blood'

New documents raise more doubts about credibility of Truman Capote's 'In Cold Blood' | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

New documents raise more doubts about credibility of Truman Capote's 'In Cold Blood

 

Now, as the Wall Street Journal has reported, an entire scene from "In Cold Blood" is sharply contradicted by police reports. That passage appears to be pure fabrication. When a prison inmate came forward to claim that he gave Smith and his partner Dick Hickock information that farmer Herb Clutter kept his office safe loaded with cash, detectives didn't leap immediately into action, as Capote asserted.

 

Nye did not, as Capote wrote,visit the home of Hickock's parents within hours of the tip, drinking coffee, his palms sweaty as he spied a shotgun likely used to slaughter the family. In fact, detectives didn't go the Hickock farm until five days after the tip. Lead investigator Alvin Dewey was dismissive of it; he liked a theory that the Clutters died because of a grudge, killed by someone they knew, the reports show.

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Ruth Ozeki: Where dualities collide

Ruth Ozeki: Where dualities collide
Vancouver Sun

 

"In Buddhist philosophies, one of the primary tenets is the notion of non-duality. So what I was trying to do in the book was propose situations that look like dualities, and then collapse them. Things appear to be different, but they sort of collapse into one, and I think that's the movement of the book all the way through."

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

"A Tale For The Time Being" by Ruth Ozeki will be released on March 12, 2013.

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Wrapped up in a Book: The Role of Emotional Engagement in Reading

Wrapped up in a Book: The Role of Emotional Engagement in Reading | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Wrapped Up in a Book: The Role of Emotional Engagement in Reading

 

Have you ever gotten lost in the pages of a good book? If so, you may have been more empathetic afterward. According to new research published in PLOS ONE, reading fiction may affect the reader’s empathetic skills over a period of time. The key to this effect is the reader’s level of emotional engagement with the text.

 

 

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

This summary contains a link to the full article

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TV's Novel Challenge: Literature on the Screen

TV's Novel Challenge: Literature on the Screen | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
TV's Novel Challenge: Literature on the Screen

Wall Street Journal

 

"Parade's End" may test viewers' appetites for highbrow fare at a time when HBO and other networks are snapping up literary rights. As Hollywood has increasingly shied away from difficult literary works in favor of blockbuster comic-book reboots and sequels, a growing number of novels are coming to television instead. Gary Shteyngart is adapting his dark futuristic satire "Super Sad True Love Story" as a cable series with Media Rights Capital, the independent studio behind the Netflix series "House of Cards." Showtime is developing a series based on Seth Greenland's comic novel "The Angry Buddhist."

 

HBO has a handful of novels in development, including works by William Faulkner, Jeffrey Eugenides's multigenerational family drama "Middlesex," Neil Gaiman's fantasy epic "American Gods" and Tom Perrotta's quiet dystopian novel "The Leftovers."

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

About television's current love affair with adapting novels for the screen

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FX President on Justified, Channeling Elmore Leonard and Passing on Breaking Bad

FX President on Justified, Channeling Elmore Leonard and Passing on Breaking Bad | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

FX President on Justified, Channeling Elmore Leonard and Passing on Breaking Bad
Devil's Lake Daily Journal

 

But the literature part is a really distinctive, character-based, humanistic voice. Sort of the aspiration to write with a kind of depth and language that feels very real. And I think that's true in both ways with Justified. [Executive producer] Graham Yost and his collaborators get Elmore Leonard's voice right, and it's very hard to get essentially 13 hours of new original Elmore Leonard a year. And they really get the voice of the South right. The writers have spent a fair amount of time down there, so there's a musicality to the language, there's a depth to the characters.

 

I think that Justified does a masterful job of deconstructing Raylan Givens' character and, by extension, the iconic white-hat lawman who has been a part of American film and television for generations, all the way back to Gary Cooper and through John Wayne. What's fascinating to me about the show is that, the implication of the title is that we have a very angry man, who comes from a very angry background, who has found a socially acceptable - i.e. justifiable - way to do what he really wants to do, which is kill people. And from the very beginning he has a crisis of faith surrounding that. I think it's fascinating; we'd never really examined deeply the motivations of that white-hatted hero.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

About adapting a popular fictional character for a TV series

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What The Heck Is A Book Anyway?

What The Heck Is A Book Anyway? | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

A lot of conventions in fiction–the rules–have come into being for reasons that have nothing to do with storytelling. Flash fiction, short stories, novellas, novels, series, serials, poetry–those are story forms. But where do the length and structure “rules” come from? Printing and shelf space. It’s about costs, profits and loss.

 

Novels became the preferred method of storytelling (for publishers) not because it’s what readers wanted most, not because it was what writers wanted to write the most, but because it makes the most sense economically. It is expensive to prep, print and ship a book. It is expensive to shelve and sell it in a bookstore. The publishers have focused on the story form that made the most economic sense. “Standard” word counts for genre fiction don’t have anything to do with storytelling–it’s all about the size of the paperback. Poetry “fell out of favor” not because of a dearth of poets or people who love poetry, but because of economics. It takes a long time for a poet to build enough of an audience to make it economically feasible to print-publish their poems. We’re talking years. If a bookstore has to choose between a book of poems that might sell one or ten copies a year and the latest Twilight rip-off that will move hundreds of units in a month, which makes more economic sense? Shelf space is valuable real estate.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

How ebooks are changing the nature of fiction

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Stanford scholar explains why zombie fascination is very much alive - Stanford Report

Stanford scholar explains why zombie fascination is very much alive - Stanford Report | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Stanford Report

Stanford scholar explains why zombie fascination is very much alive

 

From the popularity of violent video games to the skyrocketing appeal of the zombie thriller TV show The Walking Dead, it seems like everyone is talking – at least in pop culture circles – about the apocalypse.

 

The fascination with the end of the world, says Stanford literary scholar Angela Becerra Vidergar, can be traced to the advent of nuclear warfare during World War II.

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Lincoln, Argo, Capote and the intricacies of weaving fact into fiction

Lincoln, Argo, Capote and the intricacies of weaving fact into fiction | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

The Guardian (blog)
Lincoln, Argo, Capote and the intricacies of weaving fact into fiction

 

As Oscar night approaches, it's impossible to forget how deeply stories and storytelling are coded into the DNA of our stone-age consciousness. How naturally, moreover, we look to stories for moral guidance in the rough traffic of everyday life.

 

Perhaps that's why we have a profound, unconscious need to know what genre we're in. Is it a work of the imagination, or cold, hard fact? Never mind that some imaginations are deadly dull, or that some facts can be edge-of-the-seat thrilling, we like to know, as readers and as audiences, what the terms of trade are.

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Letters to a Young Madman: A Memoir

Letters to a Young Madman: A Memoir | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Letters to a Young Madman: A Memoir
PsychCentral.com

 

As a student of psychology, I was struck by how different the patient perspective is from the practitioner perspective when it comes to mental health care.

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Write of Passage: Writing the Dark Side

Write of Passage: Writing the Dark Side | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The most riveting characters in literature are the deeply conflicted ones—the ones who are driven to behave in certain ways that go against the grain of what they know to be upright and good, for example.
Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Although this article offers advice for writers, readers will also benefit from it.

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The Atlas Shrugged Book Club Begins, Polarized but Polite - The Atlantic

The Atlas Shrugged Book Club Begins, Polarized but Polite - The Atlantic | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Atlas Shrugged Book Club Begins, Polarized but Polite

The Atlantic

 

It was one of my favorite books, and although it moved steadily down my all-time list as I discovered Tolstoy, Hemingway, Nabokov, Dostoevsky, Fitzgerald, and many others, I...

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

The Atlantic has started a discussion group for this huge novel. This is the first installment of the discussion. At the beginning of this article, right under the image reproduced above, there's a link to an introduction to the group.

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