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Cultural studies: a cancer on the academy - Spiked

Cultural studies: a cancer on the academy
Spiked

 

From the outset, then, cultural studies relativised academic content through its rejection of high culture and focus on popular culture. Indeed, the word ‘culture’ itself came to be disassociated from the arts and was instead used to refer to everyday experiences. Cultural studies began by applying the tools of literary criticism to mass culture to expose the interplay of culture, power and politics. Hall’s aspiration was to develop an entirely new theoretical approach to analysing popular culture that drew on sociology, linguistics, Lacanian psychotherapy, and an array of methodological approaches drawn from other disciplines. This approach, in relation to both content and method, has since had an impact across much of academia. When all subject knowledge is considered equally worth studying, it is more difficult for lecturers to defend their content over students’ preferences.

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Late 'Ghostbuster' Harold Ramis explains the meta of 'Groundhog Day' - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (blog)

Late 'Ghostbuster' Harold Ramis explains the meta of 'Groundhog Day'
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (blog)

 

We also spoke about "Groundhog Day," as the foundation for a blossoming of meta-storytelling. Meta-fiction is an umbrella term for works that are self-conscious and self-curious, non-linear and structurally experimental, like "Groundhog Day."

Ramis wrote and directed the film starring Bill Murray as a man who experiences the same events every day.
 . . 

In the 1960s, however, . . . "People began to discover new contextual wrappers" for films "and began to play with time and space," he said. Today, Ramis said, anything goes, and "layers upon layers of consciousness are being built" into dramatic narratives.

 

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'Shades of Aye' Breaks New Ground in Native Junior Literature - Indian Country Today Media Network

'Shades of Aye' Breaks New Ground in Native Junior Literature - Indian Country Today Media Network | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
'Shades of Aye' Breaks New Ground in Native Junior Literature Indian Country Today Media Network 

Shades of Aye: Authenticity Will Be Tested is Michael Woestehoff’s first novel, and it is written for junior readers in middle school and up—a sparsely populated category when it comes to Native American literature.

“You know, as I was looking around, I didn't see much for Native young lit,” Woestehoff, Navajo, told Indian Country Today Media Network. “We have illustrated children's books, history books, language books, and adult novels. There is a gap for students in the fifth to eighth grades who are looking for books on their level. This is when they start finding their identity, thinking about college, and I hope this book starts a conversation about what it is to be a modern Native person, a student, and one who interacts in multiple worlds and how those worlds can work best for them.”


Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/02/24/shades-aye-breaks-new-ground-native-junior-literature-153724

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Gut Check Fiction and the Heathens Who Are Writing It

Gut Check Fiction and the Heathens Who Are Writing It | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Discovering quality writers is the linchpin to avoiding being swept away by wimpy and shallow writing. In essence, what we need is some gut check fiction. A good ole’ cheap shot to the sternum fiction, classic tales of stone cold revenge, blurry eyed betrayal, dames to kill for, wild eyed boys taking aim, and stories that remind wholesome folks that locked doors are only a temporary solution. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith, dive over the edge, and take the time to sample the work of an author you would normally pass over at the bookstore. Sure, reading can be a leisure activity, something to pass the time. However, why not be betrothed? Captivated? Get a chance to root for the bad guy? Be pulled head first into a story, carried along the banks of a riveting plot, spirited by dialogue, lifted up to the sky and set adrift to fall back to earth by the climax? If that is what you are looking for, here are some books and writers that merit your coin.

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Ben Marcus: 'We can contain such secret misery and perversion' - The Guardian

Ben Marcus: 'We can contain such secret misery and perversion' - The Guardian | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Guardian

Ben Marcus: 'We can contain such secret misery and perversion'

 

The first few stories in Ben Marcus's Leaving the Sea are designed to welcome in the unwitting browser. They take place in a recognisable America, in which characters interact with each other while moving through space and time in more or less the conventional fashion. As the collection progresses, things gets weirder, until you reach the final story – 40 pages of interior monologue describing a man's walk down a corridor behind a woman with whom he is obsessed. "There are challenges to that," says Marcus, with some understatement. "I think it raises a lot of alarms for people." And yet, "in a lot of ways they get to a similar emotional place."

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Marcus is also the author of the recently published novel "The Flame Alphabet"

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The 150-Year Hunt for the Great American Novel - The New Republic

The 150-Year Hunt for the Great American Novel - The New Republic | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The 150-Year Hunt for the Great American Novel
The New Republic

 

Lawrence Buell’s The Dream of the Great American Novel exemplifies the state of present-day literary scholarship. Scholarly claims are no longer weapons, and what were once the revolutionary initiatives of theory have relaxed into a conversation among friends. Buell’s is the conversation of American studies, which thrives on the merger of literary, historical, and political questions as much as it does on the elaboration of theory. An astonishing feat of erudition, The Dream of the Great American Novel takes in all of American literature, much of modern European literature, and sizeable swaths of world literature. It is a book intended to capture the curve of American history, the sweep of American culture, and the enigmas of national character—and it encompasses all the relevant scholarship as well. Indeed, Buell is among the most distinguished living scholars of American literature.1 Dazzling in its range, The Dream of the Great American Novel honors the preeminent American studies ideal of inclusiveness. America’s infinite variety is given its proper due, an achievement of the imagination that doubles as an ethical achievement.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

On the Great American Novel: "The phrase, “great American novel,” was first formulated in 1868 by John W. De Forest, a novelist of modest and impermanent celebrity. Henry James turned the phrase into an acronym, the GAN having become “a staple of American literary journalism” in the decades after the Civil War. As the U.S. rose up in wealth and power, the dream of the GAN rose along with it. The GAN was supposed to be, at least in part, a contribution to “the sentiment of nationness” and something of a blockbuster. The first novel anointed a GAN was Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852)."

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Stanford scholars debate the moral merits of reading fiction - Stanford Report

Stanford scholars debate the moral merits of reading fiction - Stanford Report | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Stanford scholars debate the moral merits of reading fiction

Stanford Report

 

The relationship between literature and morality – and the proper role of both – has long engaged philosophers, critics and writers. But at a recent event hosted by the Stanford McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society, Stanford humanities scholars said that while literature is capable of providing new perspectives and challenging our assumptions, imparting morality might not be one of its strong suits.

. . .

Landy added that morality is not necessarily good for literature. "One of my pet peeves is the idea that literature is either morally improving or useless," he said. "There are all kinds of other things – hugely important things – that literature can do for us," like enchanting or consoling us, training us mentally, offering models of self-fashioning, or simply renewing our contact with the world.

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Scott Stossel's High Anxiety - Daily Beast

Scott Stossel's High Anxiety - Daily Beast | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

That’s part of the reason My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind, by Scott Stossel, editor of The Atlantic, is such a wonderful book. In a work that is part memoir, part medical history, part contemporary examination of American psychology and psychiatry, Stossel deftly relates his own often crippling experiences with anxiety, some of which are simultaneously heartbreaking and hilarious. He approaches topics like the pharmaceutical industry and the connection between anxiety and childhood experiences with extreme nuance and sophistication, often raising more questions than answers—which is exactly what the result should be when an author dives into a topic as complex and fraught as the human brain.

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Mental Health in Fiction: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath | Exeposé

Mental Health in Fiction: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath | Exeposé | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, Exeposé Books takes a look at representations of mental illness in fiction. Sophie Beckett, Online Books Editor, argues that The Bell Jar contains an insightful portrayal of depression as well as an exploration of some of the universal issues facing students, both in the 1960s and the present day.

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These 8 Female Characters In Literature Deserve Their Own Damn Books

These 8 Female Characters In Literature Deserve Their Own Damn Books | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Books give readers the unparalleled opportunity to assume the perspective of someone other than themselves. But in assuming the perspective of one character, the reader is often denied the chance to explore the internal joys and woes of other characters in the story. We'd argue that literature is bursting with female characters who deserve stories of their own.

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Cuban Writer Padura Tests US Literary Waters - ABC News

Cuban Writer Padura Tests US Literary Waters
ABC News

 

Padura has carved a space that few writers in Cuba after the revolution have managed to attain: that of a public intellectual, at once accepted by — and critical of — Cuban society.

 

Now, at the height of his literary career, he is on a tour in the United States, visiting Miami, New York and Chicago. His critically acclaimed "The Man Who Loved Dogs" has been translated into English and published in the U.S. by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

 

"I think American audiences are intrigued by his detective novels," said Ana Mario Dopico, a professor of comparative literature at New York University. "He brings a breath of fresh air to a very over-determined reading of Cuba which is very hyper-political, very Cold War."

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Written in Blood: 10 Sensational Crimes That Inspired Great Literature - Huffington Post

Written in Blood: 10 Sensational Crimes That Inspired Great Literature - Huffington Post | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Written in Blood: 10 Sensational Crimes That Inspired Great Literature
Huffington Post

 

As a professor of American literature who also writes nonfiction books about our nation's most notorious killers, I've always been struck by how many of our greatest writers have been avid fans of lurid real-life crime stories ("murder fanciers," in Edmund Pearson's memorable phrase). Nathaniel Hawthorne, for example, was so addicted to the shamelessly exploitative "penny papers" of his day that--during his stint as American consul to Liverpool during the mid-1850s--he had a friend ship him regular batches of these sensationalistic publications. Edgar Allan Poe's classic story "The Mystery of Marie Roget" is so closely based on the highly publicized 1841 murder of cigar girl Mary Rogers that it is essentially a work of nonfiction. Another 1841 murder--that of printer Samuel Adams by John C. Colt (brother of sixgun-inventor Sam)--obsessed Herman Melville, who wove a reference to it into his masterpiece, "Bartleby the Scrivener."

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Decoding the secrets of True Detective - The Globe and Mail

Decoding the secrets of True Detective - The Globe and Mail | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Decoding the secrets of True Detective
The Globe and Mail

 

If you haven’t seen it, the HBO series is already being called the next smart show – the next Sopranos, the next Wire. Blogging sleuths have already uncovered important literary references in True Detective, and the game of decoding what appears to be a giant philosophical puzzle has begun. People are taking this very, very seriously: They are quoting pages of obscure, late-19th-century fiction and musing on the meaning of death, all in relation to a television drama about cops tracking a serial killer.

. . .

The show is being treated like literature because it is so very literary. Its creator, Nic Pizzolatto, is a novelist. The references that have so excited people this past week come from short stories and poems. The monologues spoken by its jaded protagonist, Cohle (played by Matthew McConaughey), are as cryptic and chilling as anything proclaimed by steely rationalist European philosophers.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

If you haven't yet gotten hooked on HBO's series "True Detective,"---or, perhaps more appropriately, if you have---here's a good introduction.

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Publishers Are Warming to Fan Fiction, But Can It Go Mainstream? - Wired

Publishers Are Warming to Fan Fiction, But Can It Go Mainstream? - Wired | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Publishers Are Warming to Fan Fiction, But Can It Go Mainstream?
Wired

 

The overlap between the professional and fan literary communities is one of those uncomfortable secrets no one denies, but few discuss. Fan fiction is mostly published pseudonymously, and the stigma surrounding it often causes writers to keep their professional and fan identities carefully compartmentalized.

 

Literary publishing’s uneasy relationship with fan fiction has been complicated by the realization that fandom is a huge potential market—one stocked with both prolific authors and enthusiastic readers. But tapping that market is a dilemma few publishers seem quite prepared to engage.

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Kobo Abe's house under demolition amid reevaluation of his works - The Japan News

Kobo Abe's house under demolition amid reevaluation of his works - The Japan News | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Kobo Abe's house under demolition amid reevaluation of his works
The Japan News

 

The house of acclaimed writer Kobo Abe (1924-93) in Chofu, Tokyo, is being demolished, after serving as his writing place for many great works, such as “Suna no Onna” (The Woman in the Dunes), “Hako Otoko” (The Box Man) and “Moetsukita Chizu” (The Ruined Map).

 

Abe is known as a flag-bearer of avant-garde literature and one of the most important writers in Japanese literary history.

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Stephen Grosz: On the psychoanalyst's couch - the most common problems in ... - The Independent

Stephen Grosz: On the psychoanalyst's couch - the most common problems in ... - The Independent | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

The Independent
Stephen Grosz: On the psychoanalyst's couch - the most common problems in ...

Grosz's The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves was a surprise hit when published a year ago, one of those word-of-mouth bestsellers, shifting more than 30,000 copies in hardback and dominating the bestseller lists for months. It's now in paperback. It's the distillation of his mental sleuthing over the past 25 years, written in spare, gripping prose, with each case study a short story, compellingly narrated, often ending on a cliffhanger.

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Audiobooks and the Return of Storytelling - New York Times

Audiobooks and the Return of Storytelling - New York Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Audiobooks and the Return of Storytelling
New York Times
I listen the way I read books as a child, as if I were there watching. The author becomes more transparent, the characters more real.

 

But for most of human history literature has been spoken out loud. The Iliad and the Odyssey were sung. We think that the Homeric singers of those tales mastered the prodigious mnemonic task presented by those thousands upon thousands of lines of text through an intricate combination of common phrases — rosy-fingered dawn, the wine-dark sea — and nested plots that could be expanded or shortened as the occasion demanded.

 

Even after narratives were written down, they were more often heard than read. The Roman elites could read, but gatherings at which people recited their poetry were common. And before the modern era, when printing made books widely available and literacy became widespread, reading was an oral act. People read aloud not only to others but also to themselves, and books, as the historian William Graham puts it in “Beyond the Written Word,” were meant for the ears as much, or more so, than for the eyes.

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Someone is vandalizing Anne Frank books in Tokyo libraries - San Jose Mercury News

Someone is vandalizing Anne Frank books in Tokyo libraries - San Jose Mercury News | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Someone is vandalizing Anne Frank books in Tokyo libraries

San Jose Mercury News

 

Anne Frank's “The Diary of a Young Girl” and scores of books about the young Holocaust victim have been vandalized in Tokyo public libraries since earlier this year.

 

The damage was mostly in the form of dozens of ripped pages in the books. Librarians have counted at least 265 damaged books at 31 municipal libraries since the end of January.

 

Japan and Nazi Germany were allies in World War II, and though Holocaust denial has occurred in Japan at times, the motive for damaging the Anne Frank books is unclear. Police are investigating.

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Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings battle scenes were inspired by WW1 experiences - Birmingham Mail

Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings battle scenes were inspired by WW1 experiences - Birmingham Mail | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Birmingham Mail

Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings battle scenes were inspired by WW1 experiences

 

The harrowing battle scenes and heartache in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy masterpiece The Lord Of The Rings were inspired by the author’s own First World War nightmare and the death of close friends from Birmingham.

 

A BBC radio documentary to be broadcast on Tuesday reveals how deeply Tolkien was affected by the conflict, and by the loss of friends he had cherished since they first met at King Edwards School in the city.

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Characters in search of salvation - The Australian

Characters in search of salvation - The Australian | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Characters in search of salvation
The Australian

 

One Boy Missing is billed as a literary thriller, a growing trend that sees authors use the plot scaffolding of crime fiction to support more nuanced explorations of the human condition

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Letting Go of Asperger's - The Atlantic

Letting Go of Asperger's - The Atlantic | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Atlantic
Letting Go of Asperger's

 

In January 2013, a psychologist diagnosed our 10-year-old son, Jacob, with Asperger’s syndrome. Four months later, the American Psychiatric Association declared that Asperger’s was no longer a valid diagnosis, and removed it from the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The about-face stung, not least because my husband and I had procrastinated for so long before having Jacob evaluated. Many parents would have been on the case much earlier. Our son, after all, was growing up during the years when Asperger’s—officially added to the DSM in 1994—was assuming the status of a signature disorder of the high-tech information age. In 2007, the year Jacob turned 4, a pair of Asperger’s memoirs arrived on the New York Times best-seller list. Their authors accomplished what those with the label weren’t supposed to be able to manage: they vividly shared the view from within, and helped to define the type. John Elder Robison’s Look Me in the Eye and Daniel Tammet’s Born on a Blue Day introduced the world to two eccentric but also enviable minds, one gifted with machines and the other with numbers.

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This Day in Literary History (O'Connor Puts Editor in His Place)

This Day in Literary History (O'Connor Puts Editor in His Place) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

February 18, 1949—Flannery O’Connor might have been only a few weeks short of 24, but she would not be condescended to be an editor twice her age as “a slightly dim-witted Camp Fire Girl.” One day after writing her agent that she wouldn’t respond to John Selby until hearing back from her first, she fired off a letter to the Rinehart editor in chief anyway, telling him that, while perfectly amenable to criticism, it would only be “within the sphere of what I am trying to do.” In fact, contrary to the “conventional novel” that he was trying to steer her toward, the finished book, though “less angular,” would still be “just as odd if not odder than the nine chapters you have now.”

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'Cli-fi': could a literary genre help save the planet? - The Conversation

'Cli-fi': could a literary genre help save the planet? - The Conversation | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
'Cli-fi': could a literary genre help save the planet?
The Conversation

 

The need for a narrative form that can communicate the seriousness of climate change to a broad public is more urgent than ever, but one impediment has been been in its way. This situation is about to change, with the imminent rise of cli-fi, a new genre of climate fiction.

 

And to analyse this new genre, I interviewed Dan Bloom, a journalist and self-described “public relations climate activist” who began the first ever blog on cli-fi. Dan is an irrepressible ambassador for authors and readers of this literary and cinematic form. He was the first to use the term “cli-fi” in 2008, which last year was honourably mentioned by the Macquarie Dictionary as an important new word.

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Henry A. Murray - Harvard Magazine

Henry A. Murray - Harvard Magazine | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Harvard Magazine
Henry A. Murray

 

He applied empirical methods—standardized data collection and interpretation—and pioneered the longitudinal study, in which investigators follow their subjects to determine whether initial results are stable or changing.

 

But he was also developing his own branch of psychology. Having studied Jung, he incorporated biology, sociology, culture, and literature into his research. (He promoted the works of Herman Melville—believing the Pequod’s crew illustrated every psychological type—when the novelist was largely ignored by the academy.) He dubbed his approach “personology”; its tenets include studying individual life histories to find the main themes, internal drives, and outside factors that influence personality formation.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Enlightenment on one of the pioneers in modern psychology

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Lost in Translation: The Most WTF Parts Added to Movie Adaptations of Books ... - Huffington Post

Lost in Translation: The Most WTF Parts Added to Movie Adaptations of Books ... - Huffington Post | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Lost in Translation: The Most WTF Parts Added to Movie Adaptations of Books ...
Huffington Post

 

These days, it seems like every time you go to a movie theater, there are always a couple posters for films that have been adapted from books.

 

In each leap from the page to the screen, changes are made. This is understandable, of course-- different mediums require different modes of storytelling. Book scenes that involve time spent in a character's head might translate to "slow" on the screen. However, sometimes instead of simply modifying things, film adaptations add entirely new scenes that were never in the book.


Occasionally this adds to the story, but sometimes it's just plain baffling, and all you can ask is: Why? What was going on in the filmmakers' minds, and why did they think that was a logical decision? Or, in other words: WTF?!

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

I particularly relate to this writer's conclusion: "No matter their faults, there is one thing Hollywood can accurately predict about the general public: There will always be those of us book readers who know they will butcher the book but masochistically go to see the movie anyway."

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