Literature & Psychology
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Political bias and the Prime Minister's Literary Awards - The Conversation

Political bias and the Prime Minister's Literary Awards - The Conversation | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Political bias and the Prime Minister's Literary Awards

The Conversation

 

The Prime Minister’s Literary Awards were instituted in 2008 by Kevin Rudd. The lucrative prizes survived the recent “tough” federal budget, despite fears that they would be axed in the manner of the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, which were cancelled when Campbell Newman was elected in 2012.

 

Though the Prime Minister’s Awards will continue, the composition of the judging panels, which were recently announced, has raised concerns about fairness and objectivity. The make-up of the non-fiction and history panel has inspired accusations of political bias that could discount a significant number of authors from contention.

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Beryl Bainbridge: a better artist or writer? - Telegraph.co.uk

Beryl Bainbridge: a better artist or writer? - Telegraph.co.uk | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Telegraph.co.uk
Beryl Bainbridge: a better artist or writer?

 

Most creative people – whether they are writers, painters, or composers – are monomaniacs, obsessed with exploring or resolving one set of aesthetic conundrums. Being equally talented in two radically different areas is a gift granted to few (one thinks of Berlioz and Wagner, of Jean Cocteau), but not invariably a blessing. At some point you have to choose one master, sacrificing or closing off an important part of yourself: perhaps only William Blake managed a complete mystical integration of his genius as a poet and his genius as an artist.


An interesting case of this is presented by Beryl Bainbridge, who died in 2010 at the age of 77. Best remembered for her superb historical fiction and tragi-comic tales of working-class life, she was a one-off, writing with quirky wit, concision and originality in a manner that was always fresh and surprising, sometimes macabre and shocking – and entirely sui generis. This makes her a writer difficult to catch or categorise, and one wonders where her reputation will ultimately rest: five times runner-up for the Booker Prize, she never did anything big or mainstream. Is she simply a fluent raconteur, spinning excellent yarns, a subtle literary miniaturist or something altogether darker and more elusive?

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The Time To Catch Up On 'Orphan Black' Is Now - MTV.com

The Time To Catch Up On 'Orphan Black' Is Now - MTV.com | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Time To Catch Up On 'Orphan Black' Is Now
MTV.com

 

Because, you see, these are clones that only just found out about their origins, and the mystery of who/what/where/when/why and how is just the beginning. Within it there are factions of folks vying for control while the clones themselves are struggling for autonomy and self-governance. (You know: they want to be treated as people!) Just when you think someone is the “bad guy,” the show is quick to remind you that it might not be all that simple: the cornerstone of riveting storytelling. It’s a richly layered story with something for everyone.

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Beaufort County Now » Literary Criticism Without Literature

English departments generally offer courses to familiarize students with basic terms and notions of literary criticism and with the varieties of criticism. Such courses typically entail a smorgasbord of "studies," "critical this-or-that theory," and the innumerable "isms."

 

Increasingly in our post-literate society, however, few students at the undergraduate level (and surprisingly few even at the master's-degree level) bring with them much in the way of exposure to literature.

Today's students have read few books.

 

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

A controversial stance?

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Critically acclaimed Australian author Thomas Keneally celebrates 50 years on our bookshelves - The Daily Telegraph

Critically acclaimed Australian author Thomas Keneally celebrates 50 years on our bookshelves - The Daily Telegraph | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Critically acclaimed Australian author Thomas Keneally celebrates 50 years on our bookshelves
The Daily Telegraph

 

Thomas Keneally’s eye for historical detail and gift for observing human nature are legendary in literary circles.

 

The critically acclaimed author is about to mark the 50th year in his career, which began with the 1964 pyschological mystery novel, The Place at Whitton.

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Nicola Barker Interview: 'I am just a person that writes books...' - The Independent

Nicola Barker Interview: 'I am just a person that writes books...' - The Independent | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Independent
Nicola Barker Interview: 'I am just a person that writes books...'

 

Life on the periphery – toppling sometimes toward the centre of things but just as often spinning off into the universe – is very Nicola Barker. You only need to glimpse at her Amazon ratings to see how her unbridled, experimental novels like The Yips and her masterpiece Darkmans, separate the fanatics from the detractors. “I think this book might divide people, but I’m OK with that. As a writer, death is consensus. When you see the things that everybody likes …” Barker sighs, before laughing. “I am happy to confound people.”

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SAILOR TOM SHARKEY ~ A LITERARY HISTORY | Fight Card Books

SAILOR TOM SHARKEY ~ A LITERARY HISTORY | Fight Card Books | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
SAILOR TOM SHARKEY ~ A LITERARY HISTORY

MARK FINN T

 

There are perhaps two dozen well-known boxing stories of substance, ranging from Jack London’s A Piece of Steak, and Fifty Grand by Ernest Hemingway, to more popular fare, such as sports writer Damon Runyan’s Bred for Battle and P.G. Wodehouse’s The Debut of Battling Billson. More recent stories by Rick Bass’ The Legend of Pig-Eye and Thom Jones’ Sonny Liston Was a Friend of Mine would surely be included, as well. Anyone wishing to expand the list to include novels would have some classic fare to choose from: Harold Robbins’ A Stone for Danny Fisher instantly springs to mind, along with the excellent book, The Bruiser by actual boxer-turned-author Jim Tully. There are a lot of boxing stories out there, along with boxing fans who are writers of one stripe or another; from Alexandre Dumas to Arthur Conan Doyle, from Norman Mailer to Joyce Carol Oates, it’s easy to find books waxing rhapsodic about the Sweet Science as literature, as metaphor, or as simply a cracking good read.


And yet, there is one name always missing from the Table of Contents pages of the Best Boxing Stories of Forever and All Time (Until We Make Another Book Just Like This One) and that’s Robert E. Howard. Most people know him, if at all, as the creator of Conan the Barbarian.

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Donna Tartt: Is this the year of The Goldfinch? - The Guardian

Donna Tartt: Is this the year of The Goldfinch? - The Guardian | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Guardian
Donna Tartt: Is this the year of The Goldfinch?

 

Following a Pulitzer prize last month, Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is favourite to win the Baileys women's prize for fiction and is already tipped for the Booker. Laura Miller on an enigmatic author, famed for her storytelling and perfectionism

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If everyone's a critic, where are the experts? - Herald Scotland

If everyone's a critic, where are the experts?

 

there remains a crucial distinction, to my mind, between the unpaid online review and the print review. Web writers tend to be concerned with recommending books, or steering readers away from those not worth their time. There is little sense of a critical conversation, of putting books into a historical literary perspective or drawing attention to ideas or subjects, styles or techniques that the reader might be keen to read about, but never pursue further than the review page.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Professional print reviewers vs. ubiquitous unpaid reviewers

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Dublin Writers Festival 2014: The State of Crime - PopMatters

Dublin Writers Festival 2014: The State of Crime - PopMatters | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
PopMatters

Dublin Writers Festival 2014: The State of Crime

 

McGilloway, a former English teacher who wore his background lightly, said that he saw crime fiction as existing “in a direct line from Greek tragedy”, since it was also about the “break” in the natural state of existence and the restoration of a new order. A variation on this point of view was echoed by Dahl, who again referenced the “false illusions” of Swedish society and the tensions over the things cracking that facade which he thought were also echoed in the popularity of other Scandinavian crime writers after the inevitable question was asked about the surprising recent popularity of those authors.

 

Although of the three, Crowley seemed initially less engaged in the broader implications of crime writing, she later spoke about the growth in so-called marriage or domestic noir, which some commentators had described as breaking out with the success of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.

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The Play’s The Thing: Lessons from Preschool Storytimes for College Classrooms - Hybrid Pedagogy

The Play’s The Thing: Lessons from Preschool Storytimes for College Classrooms - Hybrid Pedagogy | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Though one might imagine that suggestions emerging from a preschool storytime may not seem to be a likely source of wisdom for an adult audience, I find that we often forget the importance of basic literacy skills as we age.
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George Singleton plumbs the Upstate or bleak, comedic fiction - Charleston City Paper

George Singleton plumbs the Upstate or bleak, comedic fiction - Charleston City Paper | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Charleston City Paper

George Singleton plumbs the Upstate or bleak, comedic fiction

 

George Singleton writes rip-roaring funny stories with achingly sad twist endings. You usually know from the start that the circumstances are grim — the alcoholism, the threat of family dissolution, the struggling barbed-wire business — but the light touch of his storytelling keeps you in stitches until the closing paragraphs stun you into silence.

 

"Normally my narrator or my main character is thinking that he or she is a lot smarter than everybody else, but then there's a little bit of a comeuppance," Singleton says. He says he learned the technique from Flannery O'Connor, and in his latest story collection, Between Wrecks (published May 6 by Dzanc Books), many of Singleton's characters are at least as grotesque as O'Connor's.

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'I Named My Daughter Maya': A Historian On The Enduring Power Of Maya Angelou

'I Named My Daughter Maya': A Historian On The Enduring Power Of Maya Angelou | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

ThinkProgress
'I Named My Daughter Maya': A Historian On The Enduring Power Of Maya Angelou

 

Her voice has an almost mythical quality. In her death, it seems to be even louder than it was in her lifetime. Dwan Reece, curator of music and performing arts for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, talked to me by phone today about the enduring power and reach of Angelou’s voice.

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From Metaphysics to Teen Wolf Meta: The Evolution of a Word - io9

From Metaphysics to Teen Wolf Meta: The Evolution of a Word - io9 | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
From Metaphysics to Teen Wolf Meta: The Evolution of a Word

io9

 

In the early twentieth century, scholars began to use meta as a prefix to mean "something about something," so that metaeconomics is a form of economics that directly references economics — and a metalanguage is a language that's used to describe other languages. In the 1970s, critics began talking about "metafiction" and "metanarratives" — these were stories that were about storytelling itself. The literary scholar William Gass is often credited with popularizing the term "metafiction." In a 1970 essay, he wrote that metafictions emerge when "the forms of fiction serve as material upon which further forms can be imposed." No longer were writers content with writing stories about people or events; instead, they were writing stories about writing stories. Metafiction can take a number of forms — anything from the author addressing the reader directly, to an author writing a book about writing books. In movies and TV, we'd call these techniques breaking the fourth wall.

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James Joyce had syphilis, new study claims - The Guardian

James Joyce had syphilis, new study claims - The Guardian | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Guardian

James Joyce had syphilis, new study claims

 

James Joyce, who wrote of his worsening vision in 1931 that "I deserve all this on account of my many iniquities", was trying to confess that he was suffering from syphilis, according to new evidence uncovered by a Harvard scholar, which could upset current perspectives on the author's life and fiction.

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Shelf Life: Writer's block gives way to a plot full of twist and turns in New England - nwitimes.com

Shelf Life: Writer's block gives way to a plot full of twist and turns in New England - nwitimes.com | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Sydney Morning Herald
Shelf Life: Writer's block gives way to a plot full of twist and turns in New ...
nwitimes.com

 

“I simply wanted to place a work of fiction in a New England setting, a place I know well,” said Dicker who spent his summers in New England when young, explaining why he chose New Hampshire as the backdrop for his mystery novel. “I came across a drawing I had sketched of a big house in New Hampshire once, and my idea grew from there. Very quickly I realized that I was so familiar with the U.S. that I could allow myself to create an American town with American characters. It’s hard for me to answer whether it would have worked in a different location. I’ve never thought about it.”

 

It was also, said Dicker, a way of recreating his experiences in New England.

 

“This book helped me discover a part of myself: that I could surpass my origins and my writing language, and recreate a part of the United States in French,” he said. “I’ve spent so much time in New England that I feel like it is part of me. I put those places in my book in order to share them with my readers in Europe. To show them which regions and settings live within me.”

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

About the novel "The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair" by Joel Dicker, a Swiss writer who spend childhood summers in New England

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This Week in Fiction: Karen Russell - New Yorker (blog)

This Week in Fiction: Karen Russell - New Yorker (blog) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
New Yorker (blog)

This Week in Fiction: Karen Russell

 

In “The Bad Graft,” your story in this week’s issue, a young couple on a road trip stops in Joshua Tree National Park, where something freaky happens—the woman is infected by the spirit or consciousness of one of the Joshua trees. What is it about Joshua trees that made them seem like the right botanical conduit for this story?

 

Well, I love stories of transformation, reading them and, now, writing them.

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'Mr. Mercedes,' by Stephen King - Washington Post

'Mr. Mercedes,' by Stephen King - Washington Post | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
'Mr. Mercedes,' by Stephen King
Washington Post

 

On one level, “Mr. Mercedes” is an expertly crafted example of the classic race-against-the-clock thriller. On another, it is a novel of depth and character enriched throughout by the grace notes King provides in such seemingly effortless profusion. It is a rich, resonant, exceptionally readable accomplishment by a man who can write in whatever genre he chooses. James M. Cain, who knew a thing or two about this sort of story, would probably have agreed.

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The 'Spiral Nature' Of Richard III's Scoliosis - Science 2.0

The Guardian
The 'Spiral Nature' Of Richard III's Scoliosis
Science 2.0

 

Shakespeare characterized Richard III as a hunchback because his personal and physical deformities were well known. Certainly some history is written by the winners, and he was a big loser in the War of the Roses, but now everyone can explore the true shape of one of history's most famous spinal columns.

 

Multimedia experts have created a 3-D model of Richard III's spine and the visualization reveals how the king's spine had a curve to the right, but also a degree of twisting, resulting in a "spiral" shape. During analysis, the skeleton was analyzed macroscopically for evidence of spinal deformity and any changes to the tissue caused by the condition.

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What Funny Creatures We Are - Wall Street Journal

What Funny Creatures We Are - Wall Street Journal | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
What Funny Creatures We Are

Wall Street Journal

 

Along with Ronald Firbank, Saki set the tone—outrageous and epigrammatic—for the English school of comic fiction (and drama) that runs from Evelyn Waugh and Noël Coward to Ivy Compton-Burnett and Roald Dahl. Saki's own light-hearted contes cruels elegantly depict practical jokes gone wrong, childhood savagery, the inanities of country-house life or kindly, beneficent nature unexpectedly turning deadly, and yet they remain as fizzily delicious as a Pimm's cup on a summer's day.

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Kyung-sook Shin writes of longing and loneliness with the controlled passion ... - Los Angeles Times

Kyung-sook Shin writes of longing and loneliness with the controlled passion ... - Los Angeles Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Kyung-sook Shin writes of longing and loneliness with the controlled passion one finds in classic Russian lit

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10 authors who are brilliant at Twitter

10 authors who are brilliant at Twitter | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

They can write books, but can they tweet? Here are 10 authors you should follow.

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Why We Need the Humanities to Improve Health Care - Huffington Post

Why We Need the Humanities to Improve Health Care

Huffington Post

 

Telling stories, listening to music, making and enjoying art -- these are human endeavors that effect our emotion and our spirit. These are also the elements we need to see more of in our health care system as it becomes increasingly mechanized. Not everybody knows how to tell a story -- or listen to one -- and many people involved in health care may not even think of their patients in terms of a life story. Most physicians are trained to solve medical problems without taking into account the specific psychological and personal history of the patient -- including their underlying values and spiritual needs.

 

The medical humanities help us focus more on meaning making than on scientific measurement.

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A Professor Explains Why He's Pro-Trigger Warnings - Slate Magazine

A Professor Explains Why He's Pro-Trigger Warnings - Slate Magazine | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Slate Magazine

A Professor Explains Why He's Pro-Trigger Warnings

 

Trigger warnings in the classroom have been the subject of tremendous debate in recent weeks, but it’s striking how little the discussion has contemplated what actual trigger warnings in actual classrooms might plausibly look like.

 

The debate began with demands for trigger warnings by student governments with no power to compel them and suggestions by administrators (made and retracted) that faculty consider them. From there the ball was picked up mostly by observers outside higher ed who presented various arguments for and against, and by professors who repudiated the whole idea.

 

What we haven’t heard much of so far are the voices of professors who are sympathetic to the idea of such warnings talking about what they might look like and how they might operate.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

I've included this because it seems to represent a minority opinion.

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John Green Finally Goes to the Movies! - Indianapolis Monthly

John Green Finally Goes to the Movies! - Indianapolis Monthly | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Indianapolis Monthly
John Green Finally Goes to the Movies!

 

Green had long wanted to write about teenagers living with illness, but without weighing them down in layers of angst or, at the other extreme, painting them as bruised heroes who teach us all an important lesson about being brave. Why couldn’t they just be the same fun, flawed, and complex kids he wrote about in his other novels—the kind of restless youth who play video games in their basements, throw eggs at their exes’ cars, and make out? 

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