Literature & Psychology
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Literature & Psychology
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Doppelgängers in film and fiction - Financial Times

Doppelgängers in film and fiction - Financial Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Doppelgängers in film and fiction
Financial Times

 

The problem is that while cinema may be equipped to duplicate actors, it is not always good at exploring the human mind. In the work of Robert Louis Stevenson and Oscar Wilde, as in the earlier Romantic writing of Shelley and ETA Hoffmann, the double is a manifestation of something repressed, unrecognised, or unexplored. To give this phantom a bluntly physical form risks reducing a symbol to a visual trick – and severing the doppelgänger from the ideas about selfhood that made him such a potent figure in the first place.

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Is Alan Bennett right to prefer US literature? - The Guardian

Is Alan Bennett right to prefer US literature? - The Guardian | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Guardian
Is Alan Bennett right to prefer US literature?

 

One of our best-loved writers scored a goal for the other side last week. Here we debate the relative merits of British and American literature

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Agatha Christie and a bad case of literary criticism - The Independent

Agatha Christie and a bad case of literary criticism - The Independent | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Independent
Agatha Christie and a bad case of literary criticism

 

She was the "Queen of Crime", whose murder mysteries centred on a final "big reveal". But newly seen correspondence between Agatha Christie and those who staged her plays, including her most famous, The Mousetrap, show that, despite her stature as a master and innovator of the crime genre, theatre producers were much less in awe of her star status.

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Reading Psychology » Psychologists who write fiction: {part 1} Irvin ...

Reading Psychology » Psychologists who write fiction: {part 1} Irvin ... | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
I find the ways that psychology influences fiction and fiction psychology fascinating and I created a mini 3 part series on psychologists who express what they have to say through fiction. Irvin_Yalom.
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Famous Authors' Most Dramatic Breakups

Famous Authors' Most Dramatic Breakups | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Leave it to the wildly creative literary types to pen the best breakup letters. This got us wondering about the most dramatic breakups authors have faced, so we explored the juicy, and sometimes tragic, love lives of writers throughout history.

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Randall Jarrell's Children's Books - The New York Review of Books (blog)

Randall Jarrell's Children's Books - The New York Review of Books (blog) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The New York Review of Books (blog)
Randall Jarrell's Children's Books

 

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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Does Literary Fiction Challenge Racial Stereotypes? - Huffington Post

Does Literary Fiction Challenge Racial Stereotypes? - Huffington Post | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Does Literary Fiction Challenge Racial Stereotypes?
Huffington Post

 

The recent study "Changing Race Boundary Perception by Reading Narrative Fiction" led by the psychology researcher Dan Johnson from Washington and Lee University took a somewhat different approach. Instead of assessing global changes in empathy, Johnson and colleagues focused on a more specific question. Could the reading of a fictional narrative change the perception of racial stereotypes?

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Yet another entry in the on-going discussion of whether reading fiction makes us better people.

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'The Noble Hustle' by Colson Whitehead - Boston Globe

'The Noble Hustle' by Colson Whitehead - Boston Globe | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
'The Noble Hustle' by Colson Whitehead
Boston Globe

 

The result of his exploration of the world of professional poker is a new book, “The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death.’’ Mingling memoir, reportage, and essayistic musing, Whitehead’s account follows the structure of a mock epic, charting his journey from scrappy training (an early foray involves a casino with the ambience of a “combo KFC-Taco Bell-Donate Blood Here”) to heroic combat in a swanky Vegas casino.


Whitehead proves a brilliant sociologist of the poker world. He evokes the physical atmosphere vividly, “the sleek whisper of laminated paper jetting across the table” as the dealer shuffles. But he also conjures the human terrain, laying bare his own psychology and imagining his way into the minds of others. His book affirms what David Foster Wallace’s best nonfiction pieces made so clear: It’s a great idea for magazine editors to turn a gifted novelist loose on an odd American subculture and see what riches are unearthed.

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28000 ancient books return to China - ecns

28000 ancient books return to China - ecns | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
ecns
28000 ancient books return to China

 

A huge volume of ancient Chinese books, formally owned by a Japanese business group, has been brought back to China. And Peking University, which bought the books, is hosting an exhibition of them. The return of the 28,000 books is the biggest buying project involving overseas Chinese relics in history.

 

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Taming the monsters - Otago Daily Times

Taming the monsters - Otago Daily Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Otago Daily Times
Taming the monsters

 

While we may all have our own monsters under the bed, can you explain what the monster is to you?

 

I made the monster an invisible one for several reasons. Partly because of the invisible monsters of my formative years: the Dufflepuds in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader [by C. S. Lewis]; the invisible servants in the Beast's castle [in Beauty and the Beast], though that idea is more in Mortal Fire; the monster from the Id in Forbidden Planet, and Guy de Maupassant's Le Horla. It is hard to fathom the rationale, or divine the desires, of invisible monsters. Eros is an invisible monster for Psyche, as well as a lover.

 

The God we cry out against, rather than to, is an invisible monster. These were my starting points, especially that last. But the Wake is also a character in the novel, alien and protean and capable of change. The Wake operates like a puppeteer at first and deals with its victims according to nothing innate in them. At first. Then it familiarises itself with survivors and uses their passions or addictions or strengths as a lever to overthrow them.

 

It is impersonally then personally destructive. I was thinking of my mother's MND (impersonal) and the malice that ended my brother-in-law's life. So that's how the monster works. But because of [female character] Sam, the monster starts changing. It begins to understand and appreciate some deep human things. Sam is designed to trap it, but she educates it too. So the book acknowledges the options: monsters can be expelled or they can be civilised and become monsters no more.

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Why the Smart Reading Device of the Future May Be … Paper | Science | WIRED

Why the Smart Reading Device of the Future May Be … Paper | Science | WIRED | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Why do traditional paper books remain so popular, especially for deep, immersive reading? Are some people simply too stubborn and nostalgic to adapt to new technologies?
Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

A good look at some of the research on the subject of paper vs. digital reading.

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Shameless, transparent, confessional: Meet writer Karl Ove Knausgaard and the new (unromantic) Romantics - The Globe and Mail

Shameless, transparent, confessional: Meet writer Karl Ove Knausgaard and the new (unromantic) Romantics - The Globe and Mail | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Shameless, transparent, confessional: Meet writer Karl Ove Knausgaard and the new (unromantic) Romantics

 

this brash new fiction has been finding a younger, less traditional audience for its very non-traditional approach.

 

Influenced by the confessional nature of the Internet, with its disregard for literary forms, the younger generation of fiction writers includes Sheila Heti, whose brainy, original novel How Should a Person Be? is quickly becoming a classic; Ben Lerner, author of Leaving the Atocha Station, a virtuoso tale of self-exposure; and Kate Zambreno, who wrote Heroines, a daring personal account about the condescending way modernist fictional heroines were treated.

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Good literature can disturb - get over it - Herald Scotland

Good literature can disturb - get over it
Herald Scotland

 

Why would anyone take an English literature course if they were so fragile they could not cope with the emotions great literature deals with? That is not the main issue, however. The problem with such tagging is that it grossly insults the book itself and literature in general. All other arguments against such overprotective coddling are as nothing to the sheer ignorance such a process displays for the art of writing.

 

The shelf by my chair, where I read about this new practice, is filled with great books: several Herman Melville novels, including Moby-Dick, Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, countless Philip K Dick novels and John Updike's collected short stories. Not one of these is sweet or safe, and some will doubtless throw up ideas and images that will be challenging or profoundly unsettling. That is what literature is about.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

This article was triggered by recent reports that undergraduates at Rutgers University in New Jersey wanted professors to mark on course lists any reading material that might trigger strong reactions in readers. 

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'The Shelf' by Phyllis Rose - Boston Globe

'The Shelf' by Phyllis Rose - Boston Globe | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
'The Shelf' by Phyllis Rose

Boston Globe

 

At first it seems like a gimmick. For her latest book, “The Shelf: From LEQ to LES, Adventures in Extreme Reading,” critic and biographer Phyllis Rose reads her way through one arbitrarily chosen fiction shelf in her neighborhood library, documenting her reactions and responses.

 

However, the resulting book is immensely appealing. This is in part because Rose’s intentions are so honorable: Believing that “literary critics wrongly favor the famous and canonical — that is, writers chosen for us by others — [she wants] . . . to sample, more democratically, the actual ground of literature.” That Rose readily acknowledges the potentially quixotic nature of her enterprise — “not all of my friends saw the potential of this idea” — further endears her to readers.

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Lost For Words by Edward St Aubyn: Hilarious satire of the literati and rival novelists - Express.co.uk

Lost For Words by Edward St Aubyn: Hilarious satire of the literati and rival novelists - Express.co.uk | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Express.co.uk
Lost For Words by Edward St Aubyn: Hilarious satire of the literati and rival novelists

 

n this thinly-veiled parody of the world surrounding (surely?) the Booker Prize (St Aubyn was shortlisted in 2006 for Mother’s Milk), Lost For Words tells the story of the Elysian Prize for Literature, the judges who must decide this year’s winners and the writers (and their hangers-on) who are invested in the result.  

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This Is What Classic Novels Sound Like When a Computer Turns Them Into Piano Music - TIME

This Is What Classic Novels Sound Like When a Computer Turns Them Into Piano Music - TIME | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

This Is What Classic Novels Sound Like When a Computer Turns Them Into Piano Music
TIME

 

Music and literature are both masters at evoking emotion. The ingenuous beats of Pharrell’s “Happy” can put a smile on the face just like the cathartic life-mashing of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. But two researchers wanted to find out what would happen if they created a direct link between the two art forms, building a program that would automatically translate the emotions of a written text into a unique musical score. The result, presented this month in Canada and Sweden by artist Hannah Davis and computer scientist Saif Mohammad, is both impressive and just the beginning.

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Top 10 John Updike short stories - The Guardian

Top 10 John Updike short stories - The Guardian | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Guardian
Top 10 John Updike short stories
The Guardian
I admired many of his novels and most of his criticism; though aware of his poetry, I hadn't read very much of it.
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10 overlooked novels: how many have you read? - The Guardian

10 overlooked novels: how many have you read? - The Guardian | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Guardian
10 overlooked novels: how many have you read?

 

Most novels come, have their day, and are gone. For ever. Most deserve their "do not resuscitate" label. Every so often, though, a novel rises from the grave to claim its belated fame. On 5 July last year, addressing the nation on the Today programme, Ian McEwan did a revival job on Stoner – a novel published to modest praise in 1965 and long out of print. John Williams's bleak, but exquisitely written, chronicle of a second-rate prof in a third-rate American university went on to become the 2013 novel of the year.

 

What other dead and forgotten works would one dig up from the dusty vaults of the British Library? Everyone will have their own overdue for resurrection list: here's my top 10. Not all of them are what the critics would call "great novels" (a couple most certainly are) but they are, I can guarantee, great reads. And what more do you want from a work of fiction?

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Confession: I have read exactly none of these. More for the TBR list.

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'What could be more interesting than how the mind works?' - Harvard Gazette

'What could be more interesting than how the mind works?' - Harvard Gazette | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Harvard Gazette
'What could be more interesting than how the mind works?'

 

The brain is Steven Pinker’s playground. A cognitive scientist and experimental psychologist, Pinker is fascinated by language, behavior, and the development of human nature. His work has ranged from a detailed analysis of how the mind works to a best-seller about the decline in violence from biblical times to today.

. . .

His earliest work involved research in both visual imagery and language, but eventually he devoted himself to the study of language development, particularly in children. His groundbreaking 1994 book “The Language Instinct” put him firmly in the sphere of evolutionary psychology, the study of human impulses as genetically programmed and language as an instinct “wired into our brains by evolution.”

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From Flower To Factory, These Bees Are No Bumblers - WNPR News

From Flower To Factory, These Bees Are No Bumblers - WNPR News | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
From Flower To Factory, These Bees Are No Bumblers

WNPR News

 

Fortunate happenstance has led to me reviewing Laline Paull's The Bees alongside Dave Goulson's A Sting in the Tale. I am more than a little obsessed with bees, honey, watching wildlife and reading dystopias, and am therefore predisposed to find both books interesting. Together they make a splendid double-header of fiction and non-fiction: there is a precision and economy to the former and an almost lazy charm to the latter that makes them remarkably complementary. Where The Bees captures the fervor and fierceness of hive life from the perspective of one of its workers, A Sting in the Tale is very much the narrative of a friendly professor sitting in a garden, holding forth on his favourite subject while watching a bumblebee buzz by.

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100 Years After Dubliners, James Joyce's Dublin—and Mine - Slate Magazine

100 Years After Dubliners, James Joyce's Dublin—and Mine - Slate Magazine | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
100 Years After Dubliners, James Joyce's Dublin—and Mine

Slate Magazine

 

If you’re a person whose perception of the world is shaped by literature, Dublin can feel less like a place that James Joyce wrote about than a place that is about James Joyce’s writing. The city of his fiction exists in ghostly superimposition over the actual city, such as it is, and every street corner, every landmark, every fleetingly glimpsed stranger, can seem haunted by some Joycean revenant. If you’re already thinking about Joyce to begin with, Dublin will continually provide you with reasons to continue doing so. Joyce will not be escaped. He inheres in the city’s bones.

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Clive Thompson on Literary Sleuthing

Clive Thompson on Literary Sleuthing | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
How Big Data uses the classics to teach us cultural trends.
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This woman is writing a VC-backed novel -- & looking for new revenue for book ... - VentureBeat

This woman is writing a VC-backed novel -- & looking for new revenue for book ... - VentureBeat | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

What comes to your mind when you put Charles Dickens and soap operas together?

 

For Michelle Miller, a banker-turned-writer, it’s a venture-capital backed serial novel that’s trying to create a new revenue model in the much-squeezed book industry.


With its own music, audio, and photography, The Underwriting runs like a TV series. Each Wednesday, it releases a new “episode” on its website and will be free to read for 24 hours. After the “air,” the episode will only become available by subscription, which costs readers $1.50.


At a time when the traditional publishing industry is constantly challenged by the digital media, The Underwriting tries to find a new space for not-so-established writers to distribute their books. Unlike traditional publishing houses that design, package, and market the books, or self-publishing platforms such as Amazon.com that only distributes e-books for self-publishers, The Underwriting takes the responsibility of both publishing and distributing.

 

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For 'Game of Thrones,' Rising Unease Over Rape's Recurring Role - New York Times

For 'Game of Thrones,' Rising Unease Over Rape's Recurring Role - New York Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
For 'Game of Thrones,' Rising Unease Over Rape's Recurring Role
New York Times

 

In response to email questions, Mr. Martin wrote that as an artist, he had an obligation to tell the truth about history and about human nature.

 

“Rape and sexual violence have been a part of every war ever fought, from the ancient Sumerians to our present day,” said Mr. Martin, 65, who lives in Santa Fe, N.M.

 

“To omit them from a narrative centered on war and power would have been fundamentally false and dishonest,” he continued, “and would have undermined one of the themes of the books: that the true horrors of human history derive not from orcs and Dark Lords, but from ourselves.”

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

This controversy, formerly "confined to readers and critics of fantasy fiction," has now entered the mainstream.

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The Confabulist: Author Steven Galloway takes on Harry Houdini and the art of misdirection- The Globe and Mail

The Confabulist: Author Steven Galloway takes on Harry Houdini and the art of misdirection- The Globe and Mail | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Confabulist: Author Steven Galloway takes on Harry Houdini and the art of ...

 

A confabulist, in psychology-speak, is someone who fabricates imaginary experiences as compensation for memory loss. In true confabulation, if we can call it that, there is no intention to deceive: It is simply a symptom of brain damage or dementia, with no added craftiness or pretensions to the post-modern.

 

But The Confabulist is fiction, a form of not-quite-life where the made-up is the rule. How do we handle a narrator who is labelled a conning fabulist from the very start?

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