Literature & Psychology
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Virginia Woolf's Idea of Privacy

Virginia Woolf's Idea of Privacy | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Woolf often conceives of life this way: as a gift that you’ve been given, which you must hold onto and treasure but never open. Opening it would dispel the atmosphere, ruin the radiance—and the radiance of life is what makes it worth living. It’s hard to say just what holding onto life without looking at it might mean; that’s one of the puzzles of her books. But it has something to do with preserving life’s mystery; with leaving certain things undescribed, unspecified, and unknown; with savoring certain emotions, such as curiosity, surprise, desire, and anticipation. It depends on an intensified sense of life’s preciousness and fragility, and on a Heisenberg-like notion that, when it comes to our most abstract and spiritual intuitions, looking too closely changes what we feel. It has to do, in other words, with a kind of inner privacy, by means of which you shield yourself not just from others’ prying eyes, but from your own. Call it an artist’s sense of privacy.


Via Runa Svetlikova
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The final days of Russian writers: Maxim Gorky - Russia Beyond the Headlines

The final days of Russian writers: Maxim Gorky - Russia Beyond the Headlines | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The final days of Russian writers: Maxim Gorky

Russia Beyond the Headlines

 

Maxim Gorky lived his last days in confusion and fear at the height of the Great Terror that poisoned Russian society in the mid-1930s. Although he was given a state funeral, he died a conflicted man struggling to keep the balance between his artistic conscience and his loyalty to Stalin’s regime

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A Game as Literary Tutorial - New York Times

A Game as Literary Tutorial - New York Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
New York Times

A Game as Literary Tutorial

 

When he was an immigrant boy growing up in New Jersey, the writer Junot Díaz said he felt marginalized. But that feeling was dispelled somewhat in 1981 when he was in sixth grade. He and his buddies, adventuring pals with roots in distant realms — Egypt, Ireland, Cuba and the Dominican Republic — became “totally sucked in,” he said, by a “completely radical concept: role-playing,” in the form of Dungeons & Dragons.

 

Playing D&D and spinning tales of heroic quests, “we welfare kids could travel,” Mr. Díaz, 45, said in an email interview, “have adventures, succeed, be powerful, triumph, fail and be in ways that would have been impossible in the larger real world.”

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Literature shapes transnational fields of medicine - Imperial Valley News

Literature shapes transnational fields of medicine

Imperial Valley News

Stanford, California

 

In a 2005 lecture at King's College London, before an audience of scholars and practitioners in literature and medicine, physician and editor-in-chief of The Lancet Richard Horton called for a new literature of public health for the current global era.

 

He envisioned novels of global humanism – fiction that would engender empathy by providing insight into the medical plight of others living far away.

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Nadine Gordimer, Novelist Who Took On Apartheid, Is Dead at 90

Nadine Gordimer, Novelist Who Took On Apartheid, Is Dead at 90 | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Ms. Gordimer found her themes in the injustices and cruelties of South Africa’s policies of racial division, and she left no quarter of the society unexplored.
Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

"Critics have described the whole of her work as constituting a social history as told through finely drawn portraits of the characters who peopled it."

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Dear Science Fiction Writers: Stop Being So Pessimistic!

Dear Science Fiction Writers: Stop Being So Pessimistic! | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Neal Stephenson has seen the future—and he doesn’t like it. Today’s science fiction, he argues, is fixated on nihilism and apocalyptic scenarios—think recent films such as The Road and TV series like “The Walking Dead.” Gone are the hopeful visions prevalent in the mid-20th century. That’s a problem, says Stephenson, author of modern sci-fi classics such as Snow Crash. He fears that no one will be inspired to build the next great space vessel or find a way to completely end dependence on fossil fuels when our stories about the future promise a shattered world. So, in fall 2011, Stephenson launched the Hieroglyph project to rally writers to infuse science fiction with the kind of optimism that could inspire a new generation to, as he puts it, “get big stuff done.”

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» Reading Tips for Everyone - Always Learning

I’ve been reading with students of all ages this summer and I’ve been reminded that the biggest challenge to reading comprehension is not any problems with the skill of reading itself; it’s the lack of background information. Young, inexperienced readers simply don’t know much factual information we adults take for granted, and so they are baffled by much of what they read. No wonder they don’t enjoy reading!


For this reason, it’s important for adults to check in regularly with their kids to make sure they are understanding their summer reading books.

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Literature's finest anti-heroines

Literature's finest anti-heroines | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

We all love a literary villain, but certain fictional females occupy a grey area between good and bad. These flawed, complicated individuals are non-conformists who refuse to bend to expected rules of behaviour.


Pliant and mild are not this lot's bag; they're a rebellious and impulsive bunch with a penchant for the unexpected. Not so much bad as misunderstood, they're by turn ambitious, subversive, bold and manipulative with a need to stand out from the crowd.

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Chivalry Romances As A Literary Genre | M.A. English

Chivalry Romances As A Literary Genre | M.A. English | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

As a literary genre of high culture, romance or chivalry romance is a style of heroic prose and verse narrative that was popular in the aristocratic circles of High Medieval and Early Modern Europe. They were fantastic stories about the marvelous adventures of a chivalrous, heroic knight errant, often of super-human ability, which often goes on a quest. Popular literature also drew on themes of romance, but with ironic, satiric or burlesque intent. Romances reworked legends, fairy tales, and history to suit tastes, but by c. 1600 they were out of fashion.

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Vital Remnants: The "Demon Irony": Classic literature as an antidote to modern thought

But the chief difference between traditional and modern narrative is not that the modern contains irony and the classical does not. The chief difference is that, in modern culture irony has become the chief literary and critical mode. Satire and cynicism now predominate in an unprecedented way. What are the cultural consequences of a situation in which, for many people, the parasitical has become the primary? How does it affect the way people think when they are saturated in the sarcastic? What happens when parody becomes the primary mode of cultural cognition?


The most obvious consequence of the dominance of modern irony is that there can no longer be a hero. This is why we no longer see epic stories being written today. The only epic hero story of any consequence written in the last 100 years is J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and the only reason it exists in the modern world at all is because it is not modern.

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Books for Children, Books for Adults: Age and the Novel from Defoe to James ... - Times Higher Education

Books for Children, Books for Adults: Age and the Novel from Defoe to James ... - Times Higher Education | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Books for Children, Books for Adults: Age and the Novel from Defoe to James ...
Times Higher Education

 

Michals’ study offers a significant addition to the familiar story of “the rise of the novel” by extending the usual narrative regarding its development. Most readers are familiar with publisher John Newbery and the emergence of fiction designed specifically for a juvenile audience based on a new understanding of childhood as a defined stage of emotional and psychological growth. Where Michals’ analysis charts new territory is in its suggestion that the real revolution in age-specific fiction came at the beginning of the 20th century with the construction of a specifically adult reader that freed novelists such as James and Lawrence to write fiction that was “aesthetically excellent, ethically complex, sexually explicit”.

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How 'Gone Girl' Is Misogynistic Literature - Huffington Post

How 'Gone Girl' Is Misogynistic Literature
Huffington Post

 

Gone Girl is decisively misogynistic.There is not a single woman in the entire novel that isn't a complete and utter mess -- whether it be daddy-issue-ridden Go, psychopathic scorned-wife Amy, or battered-woman-turned-thief Greta. Seriously, Gillian Flynn, you couldn't have given us one positive female character in the entire 432-page book?.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

I don't agree with writer Nile Cappello on this issue. Later in the article Cappello writes, "In real life, a woman can be The Homemaker, The Power Bitch, The Mistress, The Good Guy and The Bad Guy all in one." Part of the power of "Gone Girl" is that it reveals how someone can manipulatively present all these different personae.

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National Writers Series Recap: An Evening with Karin Slaughter - MyNorth.com

National Writers Series Recap: An Evening with Karin Slaughter - MyNorth.com | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
National Writers Series Recap: An Evening with Karin Slaughter
MyNorth.com

 

“It bothers me when men get revved up about strong women in literature. We’ve been doing it for a long time.” Slaughter named fellow Georgia writer Flannery O’Connor, and referenced the scene in Gone With the Wind when Scarlett shoots the Yankee deserter....

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The 35 Writers Who Run the Literary Internet

The 35 Writers Who Run the Literary Internet | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

The debate as to whether the Internet is good or bad for literature doesn't seem any closer to resolution now than when it began, years ago, but the fact remains that some people in the literary wo...


Via Hadifah
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Fantasy worlds get an upgrade with alternate technology - The Seattle Times

Fantasy worlds get an upgrade with alternate technology - The Seattle Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Fantasy worlds get an upgrade with alternate technology

The Seattle Times

 

Replacing the perpetually Medieval faux-Europes that fantasy readers are used to with imaginary Asias and Africas helps keep the genre fresh, but authors can also make the settings of their magical tales more interesting by updating their worlds’ technology.

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Readers Are Better Romantics, Studies Suggest - Huffington Post Canada

Readers Are Better Romantics, Studies Suggest - Huffington Post Canada | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Readers Are Better Romantics, Studies Suggest

Huffington Post Canada

 

Anne E. Cunningham of University of California, Berkeley finds readers, especially those who start at a younger age, develop increased vocabulary and emotional intelligence through, quote, "language exposure" -- a nurtured ability that results in stronger communication skills.

 

Bookworms also make for more compatible matches. Psychologists David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano argue readers are more likely to identify feelings and facial expressions better than the average person, which could help foster focused, and longer-lasting relationships with their partners.

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'Mockingbird Next Door' moves in on Harper Lee - USA TODAY

'Mockingbird Next Door' moves in on Harper Lee - USA TODAY | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
'Mockingbird Next Door' moves in on Harper Lee

USA TODAY

 

Anyone who's been an eighth-grader in this country since 1960, millions upon millions of us, probably remembers reading at least some of the story of Scout Finch, the Alabama girl who watches her father, Atticus, defend an innocent black man of the charge of murder. There is almost nothing — much less another work of art — that so many of us have in common.

 

That fact alone makes The Mockingbird Next Door, a memoir by Chicago Tribune reporter Marja Mills about her friendship with the book's author, Harper Lee, a valuable artifact. It's also a thoughtful, sweet-tempered, witty piece of work — and tinctured with intrigue, because Lee has never published a second novel and, over the years, has largely shunned the very public life she might have had.

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Stuart Dybek Talks Flash Fiction And Flashbacks - Chicagoist

Stuart Dybek Talks Flash Fiction And Flashbacks - Chicagoist | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Stuart Dybek Talks Flash Fiction And Flashbacks

Chicagoist

 

The very agility of fictional prose is what Dybek claims is the mark of his affinity for the artistic medium. When asked about his tendency to shift his perspective through time, he addressed the popular belief that within literature, the flashback is equivalent to the word “f***” in Hollywood. Dybek emphasized that you can’t really get away with using either f-word unless you’re an already established artist in your field. Though he recognized that flashbacks do in fact have a tendency to disrupt the natural flow of time in a narrative, he argued that fiction, because of its abstract nature, allows for greater freedom to “hurdle back and forth through time.”

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Melville, the Morgan, and Me

Melville, the Morgan, and Me | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
My First Day at Sea (Awash in Melville and literary history: follow John Bryant's voyage on the Charles W.

 

Melville embarked on his first oceanic voyage as a nineteen-year-old “boy” (greenhorn) on the packet St. Lawrence to Liverpool and back in 1839.  He would not go whaling, on the Morgan‘s sister ship Acushnet until January, 1841.  My first day sailing on a whaling ship will happen, weather permitting, on July 14, 2014, between Provincetown and Boston.  So my adventure will do double duty in simulating, via my own experience, Melville’s first voyage and his first day on a whaling ship. The three selected passages below attempt to capture some sense of life on a ship: its motions, its effect on time and sleep, and the stars at night.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

A Melville biographer follows in his subject's footsteps (so to speak)

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Are modern detectives the new priests? - Mail & Guardian Online

Are modern detectives the new priests? - Mail & Guardian Online | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Are modern detectives the new priests?
Mail & Guardian Online

 

True Detective is a work of genius, deserving of the multiple Emmy nominations it’s just received. Even better than Breaking Bad in my book. But one of the things that is often being said about it is that the nihilistic Cohle – “I think the honourable thing for our species to do is to walk hand in hand into extinction” – represents a particularly modern variant of the detective as atheist. I’m not so sure. For it’s arguable that the very genre of detective fiction is intimately bound up with collapse of religious faith.

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In the shadow of the twin towers - Prospect

In the shadow of the twin towers

Prospect

 

After the death of Osama bin Laden, and approaching the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, it is tempting to declare the end of the 9/11 era. Looking at US culture and politics today, however, it becomes clear that historical traumas do not have such clear half-lives. In American fiction, certainly, there’s no sign that the trauma has been resolved. On the contrary, the sheer number of novelists who have treated the subject, and their very mixed record of success, suggest that American literature is still searching for the right way to understand the attacks.

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Tea Party Literature? - The American Conservative

Tea Party Literature?

The American Conservative

 

I remember being startled in a Texas classroom when I heard a little Hispanic boy, the son of immigrants, stand and give a history report on the great hero of history, Santa Anna. Of course in the popular mythology of Texas, Santa Anna is an archvillain. But not to this little boy. He wasn’t being provocative on purpose. He was just giving his report, based on what he was taught at home, and what his culture taught him about Santa Anna. This is the future of Texas, I thought then. You can call it bad, you can call it good, but absent some sort of massive intervention to halt immigration, it is inevitable. This is how cultures change, for better or worse. What does it mean to have a Texas in which Santa Anna is seen by most Texans as a hero, or at least not a villain? Do the white kids growing up in suburban North Dallas even know who Santa Anna is, or care? Why or why not? What will this mean, in time? You see where I’m going with this.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

It's misleading to encapsulate this thought-provoking piece with a single quotation. Read what Rod Dreher has to say about the necessity of developing a sensibility that allows a writer to look beyond ideology.

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All Reboots Are Not Created Equal: In Praise of the New 'Planet of the Apes' - Flavorwire

All Reboots Are Not Created Equal: In Praise of the New 'Planet of the Apes' - Flavorwire | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Flavorwire All Reboots Are Not Created Equal: In Praise of the New 'Planet of the Apes'

Flavorwire

 

Watching the Burton Apes alongside 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the new Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a real lesson in the dos and don’ts of a successful reboot. Instead of returning to the familiar narrative of the original film and adding in a few surface flourishes (the Amazing Spider-Man approach, in other words), the new Apes films take a decidedly long view. It’s not enough to merely revisit the planet where apes evolved from man; they’re going to lay out, in detail, how such a thing could happen, starting in the present day.

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WILL DOCTORS SOON PRESCRIBE VIDEOGAMES? - Fast Company

WILL DOCTORS SOON PRESCRIBE VIDEOGAMES? - Fast Company | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Fast Company
Play Two And Call Me In The Morning: Inside The Emerging Science Of ...

 

Feeling anxious, depressed, fearful, or unable to focus? Is your memory getting fuzzy? Medication might help. Therapy might help. And someday soon--according to neuroscientists, game designers, and drug makers--you might be prescribed a videogame that helps as much as (or more than) either. Here are a few of the innovative companies that are fusing game mechanics with principles of cognitive psychology to create a new paradigm for digital healing.

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An 'Unexpected' Treat For Octavia E. Butler Fans - NPR

An 'Unexpected' Treat For Octavia E. Butler Fans - NPR | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
An 'Unexpected' Treat For Octavia E. Butler Fans
NPR

 

In both stories Butler is able to create a whole world and a whole history out of very few words, by centering them on women who suffer no illusions about the worlds and circumstances they live in. She addresses race and class head-on as well as in metaphorical terms. And as Walter Mosley points out in his introduction, she was doing this "[l]ong before [she] changed the face of science and speculative fiction, the landscape of the potentials of literature."

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