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Humanism's faith in reason represents our best hope - The Guardian

Humanism's faith in reason represents our best hope - The Guardian | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Guardian

Humanism's faith in reason represents our best hope 

 

Humanism is a non-religious ethical outlook based on an interest in human affairs at the human scale. It is not a doctrine or a set of rules; it is a starting point, its founding idea being that ethics must be based on the facts of human experience. For some, the result of thinking for themselves about ethics might be close to a conventional moral outlook; for others, the result might be less conventional. Either way, there are just two constraints: that one's choices must not be aimed at harming others, and that one must be able to make a solid case for one's outlook if challenged by others.

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Pakistan: Not just India's unhinged sister - Salon

Pakistan: Not just India's unhinged sister - Salon | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Salon

Pakistan: Not just India's unhinged sister

 

if you look beyond the increasingly grim and sordid headlines and peer deeper into history, you will discover a Pakistan of brilliant, artistic richness as heard in the Qawwalis mastered by the late, great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or the philosophical meditations of Urdu poets Iqbal and Faiz.

 

Turn to the present. You are now witnessing the rise of a new wave of Pakistani authors writing fiction in English. They are informed and influenced by the unique challenges and cultural specifics of modern Pakistan, but they are grounding them for international audiences in universal themes of identity, love, religion, politics, class and family.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

A conversation with one of those rising Pakistani writers, Mohsin Hamid

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The man behind 'Monstress'

The man behind 'Monstress' | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

The man behind 'Monstress'
Rappler

 

The short story as a genre is not a terribly popular one—next to poetry, it’s one of the hardest genres for publishers to sell. One author who is getting praise for his mastery of the genre is Filipino-American author Lysley Tenorio, who is in Manila to talk about his debut collection, Monstress.

Published by Ecco, Monstress is a collection of portraits of eight “othered,” marginalized protagonists such as lepers, transsexuals, B-movie monster starlets, and a young comic book-obsessed immigrant.

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A literary bridge - The Hindu

A literary bridge - The Hindu | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

The Hindu
A literary bridge

 

I don’t remember exactly when Indira Goswami had announced to the Assamese media that she was working on a novel about the forgotten, legendary Bodo heroine Thengphakhri, who had apparently worked as a Tehsildar during the British regime in Assam. Thengphakhri is a compelling character to write a novel on. When the educated Indians, social reformers and the British government were trying to fight misogynist practices such as Sati, child marriage, purdah-system and encourage widow-remarriage, in Assam there was a woman working with the British officers, shoulder to shoulder, as a tax collector who rode a horse, wore a hat and had knee-length black hair. But the sad truth is that, until Goswami wrote about her, most people in Assam hadn’t even heard of this extraordinary lady.

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Literature does not stop at national borders

Literature does not stop at national borders | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

The Guardian
Literature does not stop at national borders

 

If the structure of national literature can be understood from a shared-language perspective, it occurs to me that no language can be defined by nationality. This is because language does not belong merely to those of the same race, but to communities. What is more, just as a language can contain repertories of borrowed words from other languages so can it play host to other languages that have melded into each other. For example, within the structure of Turkish there are reams of words borrowed from Arabic, Persian, Greek, Kurdish, French and English. On the other hand there is no intellectual benefit to be gained from hiding powerful literary texts away in the drawer marked "national literature". I have no objection to the lyrical lexical composition of Turkish literature being compared to Japanese literature, which introduced incomparable literary genres to world literature; or to Chinese literature, the first exponent of prose and essentially regarded at the progenitor of the novel. On the contrary, I see these characterisations as being the key to pluralism and diversity. What I disagree with is the idea of a nation being incubated upon a literature, as once literature is made into a vehicle, the population begins to be drawn into social engineering.

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Reviewed: Field Notes from a Hidden City: an Urban Nature Diary by Esther Woolfson

Reviewed: Field Notes from a Hidden City: an Urban Nature Diary by Esther Woolfson | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Reviewed: Field Notes from a Hidden City: an Urban Nature Diary by Esther Woolfson

 

It’s impossible actively to dislike Field Notes from a Hidden City. It is genial, readable, warm-hearted and on nature’s side. Yet it is, in all senses, a tame book. Woolfson likes urban nature to the extent that it comes into her willing embrace. It would have been a braver and more valuable book if she had taken on the challenge of these more wilful, multicultural denizens, which ride into civilisation on our coat-tails but keep a defiant independence. They may increasingly shape the contours of wildness in our overdeveloped country.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

A look at a book that examines urban encroachment on the natural world

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Alan Titchmarsh: Enid Blyton's books were a product of their time

Alan Titchmarsh: Enid Blyton's books were a product of their time | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Telegraph.co.uk
Alan Titchmarsh: Enid Blyton's books were a product of their time

 

We should take Blyton's works for what they were – products of their time that fired the imaginations of millions of children and introduced them to the magic of words. To judge books that were written in the late Forties and Fifties by the standards of 2013 and, what is more, from an adult's rather than a child's perspective, is unfair, mischievous and misleading.

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The Daily Dose: Crossroads--Literature and healing in the classroom

The Daily Dose: Crossroads--Literature and healing in the classroom | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Welcome back to Literary Medicine's Daily Dose. Today I am writing about pedagogical "Crossroads" of Literature and healing in the classroom.

 

I dubbed my last class No-Fear Creative Writers. They threw out whole narrative cycles, incorporated suggested characters, different tones and new perspectives. They took advice and they gave advice. I watched them go through the painful process of revision, and I watched them read triumphantly at the end of the year—in public. And through it all, I realized what I should have known all along. This is not just writing. It is therapy. Painful ideas, new identities, fears and faith and disgust and mirth were all tried on, not just in the shadows of back-corner closets but in front of peers. That inner struggle for respect made concrete; the long held fear exposed in blistering light—and there, in that fiction, we all found something “real.” And so, I end the semester in awe of those I am meant to teach. Where is the intersection between literature and healing? Everywhere. I am pleased not only to trace its ghostlike presence in old books—but to be part of it in the glistening, pulsing “real” all around me. This is literature and healing in the classroom, and perhaps it is more a well-traveled by-pass than a crossroads, after all.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

A professor of gothic literature and creative writing discusses what she has learned from teaching recent classes.

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Authors push science beyond the lab into fiction and fantasy

Authors push science beyond the lab into fiction and fantasy | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Globe and Mail

Authors push science beyond the lab into fiction and fantasy

 

“Female writers seem to use characters or social concepts as the foundation to their stories and then build worlds around them, whereas male writers tend to create worlds and technologies first,” says full-time author and professional storyteller Marie Bilodeau, the Ottawa-based author of the Destiny series of space fantasy novels, among other works, including science fiction.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Includes a list of "a few science fiction classics written by women"

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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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From Woodrow Wilson to Twitter: A Q&A with Joyce Carol Oates

From Woodrow Wilson to Twitter: A Q&A with Joyce Carol Oates | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
From Woodrow Wilson to Twitter: A Q&A with Joyce Carol Oates

 

The Seattle Times (blog)

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

I highly recommend that you follow Joyce Carol Oates on Twitter. Her tweets are always truly bright little gems.

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I'll tell you what's funny - Salon

I'll tell you what's funny - Salon | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Salon

I'll tell you what's funny

 

Humor is a complicated phenomenon, and highly dependent on context, as Seth MacFarlane recently learned. The Oscar host’s much-discussed performance – and in particular his quasi-ironic opening musical number, “We Saw Your Boobs” – has inadvertently launched a cultural debate about several interlocking subjects, including sex and gender in Hollywood, whether p.c. attitudes are destroying humor, and the role of Twitter and other social media during major cultural events. That’s without even getting into the unresolvable and inherently subjective question of what’s funny and what’s not.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

How DO we decide what makes a joke funny?

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Author's notes: Anna Lewis - WalesOnline

Author's notes: Anna Lewis

Wales Online

 

Why, after hundreds or even thousands of years, are new generations of writers still compelled to turn back to the literature of the past and to re-write it, again and again?

 

For me, writing poems about myths and folktales is a way of reading the tales more deeply.

 

Part of the appeal of these ancient stories is that their emotional and moral resonance, as well as their sense of peril, can still affect us today; but unlike in modern literature, we rarely get inside the characters’ heads.

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TV Friday: Touch is sexier, but still spiritual

TV Friday: Touch is sexier, but still spiritual | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Canada.com
TV Friday: Touch is sexier, but still spiritual

 

"I’ve been interested in this theme of interconnectivity for a long time, and this is really a chance to continue what you might call social-benefit storytelling, the idea of using an archetypical narrative to create and promote a positive energy in the world,” Kring said. “The emerging story of our time, I think, is that we are more connected to one another than we ever thought or knew. That’s borne out by the whole social-networking world we live in. We need to figure that out and to solve the bigger problems we all face.”

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

On Fox TV's show "Touch"

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Life and literature in Pakistan

Life and literature
DAWN.com

 

This criticism springs from a narrow appreciation of the place of literature in a people’s life and the responsibility of writers not only to enable fellow beings to gainfully fill their leisure hours (if anyone still has such time available) but also to help them realise themselves in various fields, especially in times of conflict, turmoil and distress. Through interaction with farmers, workers and social activists, writers and artists too will find the means of enriching their thought and refining their expression.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

How two literary festivals in Pakistan contributed to the country's national narrative; discussion of the interaction between literature and society

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When Parents Kill Parents in the Name of Literature

When Parents Kill Parents in the Name of Literature | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
When Parents Kill Parents in the Name of Literature
New York Times (blog)
Books with absent parents allow them to try on independence and adult responsibilities for size.

 

I read children’s literature differently now that I’m a mother.

 

Mothers get a famously bad rap between the pages of kids classics: Mary’s vain, careless, finally-dead-from-cholera mother in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “The Secret Garden”; the absent mother of the “Narnia” books; the poor, unfortunate parents of “James and the Giant Peach,” devoured by a rhino. When I read Roald Dahl (barely a functional mother, alive or present, to be found) with my kids, I still feel that thrill that I remember from my early reading. There are no adults. The children are running the asylum.

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Reading between the sidelines - The Stanford Daily

Reading between the sidelines
The Stanford Daily

 

A female acquaintance recently asked me why I followed sports. Initially flustered by the elementary nature of the question, I replied with a measure of desperation, “Well, why do you read?”

 

It seemed to be a response that would be relatable to an individual as infatuated with fictional accounts as she. I loved to follow sports, just as she loved to read. And I loved following sports for very much the same reason that she immersed herself in fiction.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Why do YOU read? Or follow sports?

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Bronte fans in uproar after council fails to buy home where sisters grew up

Bronte fans in uproar after council fails to buy home where sisters grew up | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Daily Mail
Bronte fans in uproar after council fails to buy home where sisters grew up ...

 

It is feared the house where the Bronte sisters were born could be turned into a bistro after Bradford Council failed to buy it before it was sold. 


Members of the Bronte Birthplace Trust tried to persuade the authority to buy the four-bedroom terrace in Market Street, Thornton, West Yorkshire, so it could be turned into a museum with book shop and cafe.

 

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Enid Baines's curator insight, February 26, 2013 9:07 PM

So, belly up and toast the ladies--in their own living room. 

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Why You Should Fall in Love with Abed Nadir or Some Other Imaginary Person

Why You Should Fall in Love with Abed Nadir or Some Other Imaginary Person | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

My English course for Child Studies majors is called “A Question of Character.”  We’ve spent the last few weeks discussing  what “characterization” means in literature, and what “character” means in life.  Along the way, we’ve talked a little about whether reading literature can influence our personal characters and, as a result, our success and happiness in the present and future.  This is a question I want to explore more deeply in the coming weeks.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

An insightful look at why we respond to fictional characters.

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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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