Literature & Psychology
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Literature & Psychology
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“Mr. Mercedes”: How Stephen King’s killers mirror real-life murderers

“Mr. Mercedes”: How Stephen King’s killers mirror real-life murderers | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The writer has long penned thrillers that hew uncomfortably close to bloody reality

 

But while it can’t be claimed to be either predictive or prescriptive, “Mr. Mercedes” proves to be more nuanced than it first appears. Perhaps it can make its readers think a little more closely about the heart of darkness in American culture.

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200 years on, Scott's Waverley is a must-read - Herald Scotland

200 years on, Scott's Waverley is a must-read

Herald Scotland

 

A ditherer and switherer, a reader and romantic, Edward Waverley is an unlikely hero. That his name graces Edinburgh's main railway station, a New York street, a pricey pen and much more besides is testimony to Scott's remarkable powers as a novelist. Waverley is not only the first historical novel but the first political novel, pitting pre-enlightenment Jacobite society against the so-called rational regime of the Georgian court in London.

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Reading Rainbow's Kickstarter campaign rakes in more than $6 million - Los Angeles Wave Newspapers

Reading Rainbow's Kickstarter campaign rakes in more than $6 million - Los Angeles Wave Newspapers | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Reading Rainbow's Kickstarter campaign rakes in more than $6 million
Los Angeles Wave Newspapers


He believes that they should be able to see themselves in characters that appear in literature they read.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Sometimes the good guys win

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A full-on CanLit feud - Macleans.ca

A full-on CanLit feud - Macleans.ca | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
A full-on CanLit feud
Macleans.ca

 

Last fall, the author, broadcaster and sexagenarian CanLit bad boy David Gilmour caused the the Internet to explode when he said he doesn’t “love women writers enough to teach them” in his modern short fiction class at the University of Toronto. In an interview with the online literary magazine Hazlitt, Gilmour revealed he teaches only “serious heterosexual guys”—that familiar “manly man” canon that includes Chekhov, Tolstoy, Fitzgerald, Henry Miller and Philip Roth. Outrage was immediate: Editorials were written, bloggers fulminated. Gilmour was branded “sexist,” “misogynist,” an archaic relic of white-man privilege.

 

Now, in a podcast and a long essay titled “Of a Smallness of the Soul,” released last month on The Biblio File blog, the novelist André Alexis, who is black, has added a new charge: racism. More specifically, Alexis accuses the narrator of Gilmour’s 2011 roman à clef, The Perfect Order of Things, of relying on “obvious racist tropes.” The source of Alexis’s aggrievement is the depiction of René Goblin, a character known to be based on Alexis. The essay also names reviewers of The Perfect Order of Things who Alexis argues overlooked the racial politics in the portrayal of “an ugly, jazz-loving and dreadlocked spook—given his marching orders by a character named ‘Lynch’—[who] ends up happy once he’s put in his place for dissing and then eyeballing an endlessly appalled white man.”

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Ana Castillo: A 'Chicana' Writer Breaks The Mold On Strong, Beautiful Women - Huffington Post

Ana Castillo: A 'Chicana' Writer Breaks The Mold On Strong, Beautiful Women - Huffington Post | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Ana Castillo: A 'Chicana' Writer Breaks The Mold On Strong, Beautiful Women

Huffington Post

 

Her writing is populated by women who differ from the feminine archetypes in literature--Alice in Wonderland or Little Women -- who "were not anything like the women I knew or the girl I was." Rather, Castillo writes about "beautiful brown women -- and by beautiful, I don't mean an aquiline nose or tall and blond. Strong, resourceful, capable of making the best of it."

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Hedgehog versus fox: how do we tell the story of the novel? - New Statesman

Hedgehog versus fox: how do we tell the story of the novel? - New Statesman | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

New Statesman
Hedgehog versus fox: how do we tell the story of the novel?


There are two potential methods of narrating this story: a fox way and a hedgehog way, both of them rife with problems. In his study of War and Peace, Isaiah Berlin adapted a fragment by the Greek poet Archilochus – “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing” – to divide centripetal thinkers who “relate everything to a single central vision” and centrifugal thinkers who “pursue many ends, often unrelated and even contradic­tory”. If you credit the novel with a single vision – for example, “The novel traces man’s alienation from God” – a clean, forward-thrusting narrative may emerge but you will commit imprecisions on every page (quibbles of the “What about Jane Austen?” variety may prove hard to silence). But although writing novel-history in accordance with Virginia Woolf’s statement that there is “no such thing as the novel, only ‘novels’” might allow for greater nuance, readers will be too busy wading through the names and movements and titles to thank you for your rigour.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

A look at three recent books about the history of the novel as literary form

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Strange and Wistful: Randall Jarrell's Children's Books by Katherine Rundell

Strange and Wistful: Randall Jarrell's Children's Books by Katherine Rundell | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

For those who know him as a hardboiled reviewer, a kind of Philip Marlowe of literary criticism, it would seem an anomaly that he wrote five books for children. For those who know his poetry, though, it might not be surprising at all. His later work especially drew often on images of childhood—as in “The Lost Children,” which begins “Two little girls, one fair, one dark/One alive, one dead, are running hand in hand.” The adult poetry speaks of a desire for a lost innocence. This becomes a block in Jarrell’s work for children; great children’s literature has no truck with the idea that children are pure, as the target audience is very aware that they are not. Children, as children know best, can be nasty, brutish, and short. J. M. Barrie knew it; the closing sentence to Peter Pan makes it clear: “and thus it will go on, so long as children are gay and innocent and heartless.” Sendak, the illustrator of several of Jarrell’s books, knew it; Where the Wild Things Are is as chaotic as it is gleeful. And Jarrell’s stories are best when they are at their most dark and strange.

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Books for the Masses | Editors' Picks BEA 2014

Books for the Masses | Editors' Picks BEA 2014 | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Fans of Boardwalk Empire would enjoy this crime thriller as well. ... Often philosophical, it's a fully illustrated book of literary criticism that examines the way we read and how we picture characters (“Characters have only implied corporeality.
Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

An eclectic collection of book reviews by Library Journal from BookExpo America (BEA), which took place May 29–31 in New York City

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The Fantastic Life of Paulo Coelho: Between Insanity and Spirituality - Huffington Post UK

The Fantastic Life of Paulo Coelho: Between Insanity and Spirituality - Huffington Post UK | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Fantastic Life of Paulo Coelho: Between Insanity and Spirituality Huffington Post UK

 

Immensely quotable, universally appealing, read all over the world - that's Paulo Coelho, the indisputable king of popular Brazilian literature. The man behind The Alchemist, one of the best-selling novels ever written, may be a spiritual guru to many, but his past is marked by episodes of black magic, drugs and orgies.

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The Rise Of Young Adult Authors On The Celebrity 100 List - Forbes

The Rise Of Young Adult Authors On The Celebrity 100 List - Forbes | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Rise Of Young Adult Authors On The Celebrity 100 List

Forbes

 

Young Adult authors John Green and Veronica Roth, newcomers on this year’s Celebrity 100 list, sold approximately 8.5 million copies combined in 2013. Green’s The Fault in Our Stars propelled him to an estimated $9 million in yearly earnings, while Roth’s Divergent trilogy earned her around $17 million.

 

The rising popularity of an increasingly visible genre means there have never been as many Young Adult (YA) authors on the Celebrity 100 roster. Roth and Green join the queen of YA, J.K. Rowling, on this year’s rankings. (Fellow Celebrity 100 authors include stalwarts James Patterson and Stephen King.)

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When should a student's writing raise red flags? - MinnPost.com

When should a student's writing raise red flags? - MinnPost.com | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
MinnPost.com
When should a student's writing raise red flags?

 

And it was partly the reason why she took up her nonfiction pen to write an Opinionator piece for The New York Times about her own experience (in 2008) with a student who had been writing disturbing poems (about killing people) and frightening a teaching assistant and classmates. Schumacher, the TA’s supervisor, had been called upon by university administrators to intervene, and ask the question: “Do you plan to harm yourself or anyone else?”


Schumacher’s column, published June 18, has generated almost 600 online comments and dozens of emails to her personal account that revisit post-Virginia Tech debates about First Amendment freedoms, Second Amendment rights, campus supports (or lack thereof) for those in psychological crisis, federal privacy laws and whether or not violent behavior can be predicted.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

A complex issue that almost every English teacher at every level of education has thought about

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What Positive Psychology can learn from the Humanities ...

What Positive Psychology can learn from the Humanities ... | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

In spite of the aforementioned (conjectured) antagonism, the purpose of this essay is to shed light on the manifold interconnections between the humanities and positive psychology as a (comparatively) “hard” science. Specifically, the goal is to

1. to show how insights from the humanities have informed (and still continue to inform) theories about the antecedents and characteristics of (psychological) well-being and what makes for a “good life”;
2. how the humanities help to refine research on human flourishing in its different facets;
3. how the humanities inform the practice of human flourishing and help to design interventions that are based on the insights of positive psychology.

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Books: When words shake up the social order - Irish Independent

Books: When words shake up the social order - Irish Independent | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Irish Independent

Books: When words shake up the social order

 

If plot, character, and a stable social order, were all supposedly vital ingredients for holding a novel together - up until this moment in literary history anyway - Joyce was tearing that recipe asunder and making his own from scratch. His message was clear: words and language are all that matter when one is aiming for literary perfection.

 

Ulysses takes place on June 16, 1904. While the book is based on ideas that personify modernity -such as alienation and the non-linear chaos of human consciousness - it would also map out the eventful tales of an ancient Greek myth, the Odyssey, onto the streets of Dublin.

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Elizabeth Harrower: Australia's buried literary treasure is unearthed - The Guardian (blog)

Elizabeth Harrower: Australia's buried literary treasure is unearthed - The Guardian (blog) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Guardian (blog)

Elizabeth Harrower: Australia's buried literary treasure is unearthed

 

“Her great subjects are class, gender and power. She applies a spotlight to those things in a way I don’t think any other writer really does, with this intense, unsentimental and relentless psychological examination of men and women interacting with each other.”

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Stanford fellow investigates how literature shapes transnational fields of medicine

Stanford fellow investigates how literature shapes transnational fields of medicine | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Literary academic and Stanford Humanities Center fellow Alvan Ikoku explores how fictionalized accounts of the tropics and malaria research simultaneously foster and examine the foundations for global health.
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10 Most Reclusive Literary Geniuses

10 Most Reclusive Literary Geniuses | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

The world’s greatest writers use their literary genius to illustrate and comment on the human condition. And yet, those who could be considered to have the best understanding of human feelings often choose to hide themselves away from the public eye. The stereotype of the reclusive author is not always true, but for these literary greats, a life of solitude had more appeal than the draws of fame and awards.

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5 British Literary Characters That Made a Comeback - Anglophenia

5 British Literary Characters That Made a Comeback - Anglophenia | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Anglophenia
5 British Literary Characters That Made a Comeback

 

Some literary creations are so potent they cannot be contained by one book, one series, or one author alone. They may make the move from the page to the stage, from the stage to the radio, from the radio to the television, and from the television to the movie screen, but what happens then?

. . .

Enter the literary sequel-erizers. They come in after the original author has become unavailable (most commonly through death) and rescue the characters, giving them new things to do in suitably respectful—but not-quite-the-same—prose clothes.

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How to write a modern ghost story - The Guardian

How to write a modern ghost story - The Guardian | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

The Guardian
How to write a modern ghost story
We don't believe in ghosts, so writing ghost literature for a modern readership presents particular challenges.

 

There is a fine balance between the psychological and the spectral. Ghost writing must involve a blurring between reality and madness or projection. So Sarah Waters's doctor in The Little Stranger slowly reveals himself to be an unreliable narrator; the protagonist of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper is either insane or accurate. The theory that the Governess in The Turn of the Screw may be a neurotic fantasist began when Edmund Wilson wrote his Freudian psychopathology interpretation in 1934, though I believe that James did not intend this. The dead Rebecca of Daphne du Maurier's novel skews the narrator's mind as powerfully as if she had appeared thumping round Manderley. The modern ghost writer inherits a tradition of unreliable narrators, vastly ramped up by later psychoanalytic thinking. I found it interesting to subvert this by writing about apparent madness, in a girl who insists on dressing as a shabby Victorian, while the real chaos lies where no one is looking.

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8 More African-Born Writers You Should Be Reading - Flavorwire

8 More African-Born Writers You Should Be Reading - Flavorwire | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
8 More African-Born Writers You Should Be Reading

Flavorwire

 

Fiction can be a revealing window into cultures that are unfamiliar to us — and reading the work of an author who lives in another country or was born across the world from us can elucidate a different point of view. Whether it be a country’s political situation, the lexicon, the history, or the people, immersing oneself in the fiction of a specific nation, region, or even an entire content can provide an opportunity to better understand other places and experiences. And, as a recent New York Times article noted, this is an especially great time for literature from Africa and by authors who were born there

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The Summer's Most Unread Book Is… - Wall Street Journal

The Summer's Most Unread Book Is… - Wall Street Journal | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Wall Street Journal

The Summer's Most Unread Book Is…

 

How can we find today's greatest non-reads? Amazon's "Popular Highlights" feature provides one quick and dirty measure. Every book's Kindle page lists the five passages most highlighted by readers. If every reader is getting to the end, those highlights could be scattered throughout the length of the book. If nobody has made it past the introduction, the popular highlights will be clustered at the beginning.

 

Thus, the Hawking Index (HI): Take the page numbers of a book's five top highlights, average them, and divide by the number of pages in the whole book. The higher the number, the more of the book we're guessing most people are likely to have read. (Disclaimer: This is not remotely scientific and is for entertainment purposes only!)

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

An interesting take on summer reading

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Suvi Salo's curator insight, July 7, 2014 6:29 AM
"A simple index drawn from e-books shows which best sellers are going unread"..
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How The Wire Is, and Isn't, "Dickensian" - Huffington Post

How The Wire Is, and Isn't, "Dickensian"
Huffington Post

 

The alternative to Dickensian melodrama is not, as Simon thinks, the bleak austerity of Greek tragedy, nor the allegory of a great white whale. It is better, modern melodrama -- one that even grants an occasional happy ending to a particular individual without betraying its principles of showing the way the "game is rigged" against the poor and black. The Wire thus is, and isn't, Dickensian. More properly, it is serial television melodrama in which good and evil are raised beyond the personal to the institutional level. If Dickens represented the great serial melodrama of his time, The Wire represents the great serial melodrama of our own.

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A two-male fairytale breaks ground in children's literature - Daily Californian

A two-male fairytale breaks ground in children's literature

Daily Californian

 

Let’s think back to bedtime stories: thin, hardbound books stacked atop the bedside table, unassuming but full of magic, wisdom and fantastical stories. Mother Goose, nursery rhymes, fairy tales and fables, princes slaying dragons, kings marrying off their fairest daughter to the most worthy suitor and the new royal couple living hetero ever after.

 

But what happens if the princess doesn’t want to get married? What if “hetero ever after” isn’t the only kind of happy ending?

 

University of the Pacific professor Jeffrey Miles answers these progressive questions in his groundbreaking children’s book, “The Princes and the Treasure.” The book follows Gallant and Earnest, two young bachelors on a quest to rescue Princess Elena, who was kidnapped by an evil witch. Along the way, they discover that teamwork and compatibility are their strongest suits and that neither of them was fit to marry the beautiful princess. Instead, they were meant to marry each other.

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How Grimm should teen fiction get? Arifa Akbar, week in books - The Independent

How Grimm should teen fiction get? Arifa Akbar, week in books - The Independent | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Independent
How Grimm should teen fiction get? Arifa Akbar, week in books

 

It was sad to hear how long it had taken young adult (YA) fiction author Kevin Brooks to publish The Bunker Diary, as he collected the Carnegie Medal for it. Or why it had taken so long, I should say. Ten years, he revealed, because no publisher would touch a YA book whose themes – kidnapping, illness, torture and drug addiction – didn’t offer enough “hope”.

 

Winning the medal must have felt like vindication for Brooks, and he had every right to make pointed comments about YA fiction not being for babies, and that young adults could well handle dark subjects. He also spoke out against putting stickers on covers to warn parents of gritty content – rather like cinema ratings – despite suggestions from some corners of society. It is a topic that I suspect might rear its head at the inaugural YA Literature convention next weekend, which is being curated by the Children’s Laureate, Malorie Blackman. The sticker debate is worth having, I think, but it comes with moral baggage.

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The life and times of a ghostwriter (or, how Kendall and Kylie Jenner became published YA authors) - Entertainment Weekly (blog)

The life and times of a ghostwriter (or, how Kendall and Kylie Jenner became published YA authors) - Entertainment Weekly (blog) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

The life and times of a ghostwriter (or, how Kendall and Kylie Jenner became published YA authors)

 

Enter the celebrity ghostwriter, usually a seasoned novelist or journalist who gets connected to celebrity projects via literary agents (paired together in what ghostwriter agent Madeline Morel calls a “matchmaking process”). Then, for a price—a negotiated fee typically between $20,000 and $40,000—ghostwriters will churn out several hundred pages that will ultimately be passed off as a celebrity’s creative endeavor. Which, it turns out, is okay with celeb-crazed readers.

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Trends in crime fiction: from psychological thrillers to domestic noir ...

Trends in crime fiction: from psychological thrillers to domestic noir ... | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Trends in crime fiction: from psychological thrillers to domestic noir.

 

I wrote a crime novel by mistake. While adore Jane Tennyson on television, I don’t read police procedurals. I also stay away from serial killers and testosterone fuelled international spy gun-toting car-chasing thrillers. But as I have discovered, crime writing takes many forms. And, looking at the winners of the Crime Writers Association Dagger awards, it seems these differences are welcomed by the crime-writing fraternity. This post explores some of the more popular variations on the crime novel.

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