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Trapped Inside the Novel

Trapped Inside the Novel | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
More and more I wonder if it is possible for a novel not to give me the immediate impression of being manipulated toward goals that are predictable and unquestioned.

 

. . .

The variety of stories told in the novel is indeed remarkable, but the tendency to reinforce in the reader the habit of projecting his or her life as a meaningful story, a narrative that will very likely become a trap, leading to inevitable disappointment followed by the much-prized (and I suspect overrated) wisdom of maturity, is nigh on universal. Likewise, and intrinsic to this approach, is the invitation to shift our attention away from the moment, away from any real savoring of present experience, toward the past that brought us to this point and the future that will likely result. The present is allowed to have significance only in so far as it constitutes a position in a story line. Intellect, analysis, and calculation are privileged over sense and immediate perception; the whole mind is pushed toward the unceasing construction of meaning, of narrative intelligibility, of underlying structure, without which life is assumed to be unimaginable or unbearable.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

An interesting approach to contemporary novels that focuses on the nature of narrative structure and its ability to encapsulate the meaning (or lack thereof) of characters' lives.

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How Stanley Edgar Hyman Jumped Into Madison Avenue Luxury - Tablet Magazine

How Stanley Edgar Hyman Jumped Into Madison Avenue Luxury - Tablet Magazine | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
How Stanley Edgar Hyman Jumped Into Madison Avenue Luxury
Tablet Magazine

 

Millions of people venturing onto Madison Avenue in midtown Manhattan this past summer encountered a most improbable sight: a large billboard upon which a bespectacled middle-aged man from the Mad Men era is jumping straight up into the air for no apparent reason. It is Stanley Edgar Hyman—my father, erstwhile teacher, critic and staff writer for The New Yorker and The New Republic, and husband of my mother, novelist Shirley Jackson—pictured without explanation save a small credit by the Berluti boot company of Paris. Berluti has chosen to use the black-and-white image by the renowned photographer Philippe Halsman as the center of its marketing campaign this season, arranging framed posters of Hyman’s jump inside its fashionable stores. He does not even wear the brand; his shoes are his own off-shelf loafers.

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Bringing Horror Classics Back - Wall Street Journal

Bringing Horror Classics Back - Wall Street Journal | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Bringing Horror Classics Back

Wall Street Journal

 

Guillermo del Toro is known for his fantasy and sci-fi films such as "Pan's Labyrinth," "Hellboy" and "Pacific Rim." But as a young boy growing up in Mexico, he was drawn as much to horror books as to films. "It was pretty much hand-in-hand, the literature weighed at least as heavily as movies weigh in my formation," he said.

 

Now, Mr. del Toro, 49 years old, has curated a new Penguin book series, selecting six horror classics to be reissued with neon covers and black-edged pages. Among the titles he chose are Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" ("The book that is most influential in my emotional and spiritual life," he said) and H.P. Lovecraft's collection "The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories," which includes "At the Mountains of Madness," a tale Mr. del Toro said he has tried for 20 years to adapt into a film.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

An interesting look at literary influence

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Tagore misunderstood due to poor translations: Swedish Scholar - Oneindia

Tagore misunderstood due to poor translations: Swedish Scholar - Oneindia | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Tagore misunderstood due to poor translations: Swedish Scholar
Oneindia

 

"Even his most famous work 'Gitanjali', for which he won the Nobel, is practically unreadable in Swedish. It has neither the rhythm nor the brilliance which is reflected in his original Bengali writing," Swedish Tagore scholar Olavi Hemmila told PTI. Hemilla who is visiting Kolkata to participate in the celebration of 100 years of Tagore winning the prestigious award in literature, said all the Swedish translations of his works are poor in quality. "It is very sad that his works have been misinterpreted during translation. I think the translators were romantic characters and they had love for ancient Sweden history. During translation, they forgot the Indian backdrop in his works and saw it with a particular bias," Hemmila said. Tagore's poetries, dramas, short stories and novels written in Bengali has been translated into many languages across the world. Ambassador of Sweden in India Harald Sandberg said even the bard himself was worried about the quality of the translations. "That is because poetry is always extremely difficult to translate. Its a challenge for any one to keep it deeply original," he said. Even the Nobel Committee in 1913 had observed in the nomination that the actual significance of Tagore's works can be understood in a limited way because of the unavailability of his translated works.
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Shelf Life: Author pens 17th mystery novel and supports young girls interested in science - nwitimes.com

Shelf Life: Author pens 17th mystery novel and supports young girls interested in science - nwitimes.com | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Shelf Life: Author pens 17th mystery novel and supports young girls interested in science

 

As she begins to investigate, V.I. is pulled back to the secrets of Austria during the time when they were exploring atomic science. One of the major characters in Critical Mass is based on Viennese physicist Marietta Blau, who was nominated for the Nobel Prize for her work in the dark days before World War II.

 

“The more I learned about Blau, the more fascinated I became with the role women scientists played in research at Vienna’s important Institute for Radiation Research,” said Paretsky noting that because physics was such a new field at that time might have made it was more open to women than the other sciences. “With the Nazi takeover of Austria, women—and Jews—lost their positions.”

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

I hadn't heard anything about Sara Paretsky in quite a while, so I was glad to hear that she has a new V.I. Warshawski novel out.

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Season of the witch casts a powerful spell on culture – and empowers teenage girls - The Guardian

Season of the witch casts a powerful spell on culture – and empowers teenage girls - The Guardian | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

The Guardian
Season of the witch casts a powerful spell on culture – and empowers teenage girls

 

it is on television that the season of the witch has truly taken hold. In addition to American Horror Story, with its tale of voodoo queens and teenage witches, there's Lifetime's The Witches of East End, adapted from a novel by Melissa de la Cruz and featuring a family of spellcasters led by Julia Ormond. Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals (on the Syfy channel) has a central storyline about witchcraft and in Universal's Sleepy Hollow,Ichabod Crane deals with duelling covens in present-day America.

 

So why witches – and why now? "The idea of being able to manipulate supernatural forces still resonates," says Owen Davies, professor of social history at the University of Hertfordshire and author of America Bewitched: The Story of Witchcraft after Salem. "Witches and ghosts speak to something fundamental and innate in our psyche. It's an emotional connection."

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Book Talk: Best-selling author James Patterson reflects on success - GMA News

Book Talk: Best-selling author James Patterson reflects on success - GMA News | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Book Talk: Best-selling author James Patterson reflects on success
GMA News

 

The three rules of this kind of fiction for me are story, story, story. I'm telling a story, and I sort of have the sense that I'm talking to one person and I don't want them to get up until I'm finished. And the books are emotional. I think I'm pretty emotional. I think that's one of my strengths and I think that comes through to people.

There are a lot of thrillers that are exciting, but there isn't much humanity to them. I do create characters that people are comfortable with and that they want to know what happened to them next. Even the villains, I think, there's just a humanity to them as diabolical as they may be, there's something recognizably human, which I think is one of the keys to creating villains that are interesting.

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How Amazon and Goodreads could lose their best readers - Salon

How Amazon and Goodreads could lose their best readers - Salon | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Salon

How Amazon and Goodreads could lose their best readers

 

But if, at a casual glance, the two companies — Goodreads and Amazon — seem to be made for each other, look again. A small but growing faction of longtime, deeply involved Goodreads members are up in arms about recent changes to the site’s enforcement of its policies on what members are permitted to say when reviewing books, and many of them blame the crackdown on the Amazon deal. They’ve staged a protest of sorts, albeit one that’s happening mostly out of the public eye. Their charge is censorship and their accusation is, in the words of one rebel, that Goodreads and Amazon want “to kill the vibrant, creative community that was once here, and replace it with a canned community of automaton book cheerleaders.”

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

It's nearly impossible to keep up with all these literary rivalries. Fortunately, Salon's Laura Miller has this one covered in depth.

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What's Behind the Notion That Nonfiction Is More 'Relevant' Than Fiction? - New York Times

What's Behind the Notion That Nonfiction Is More 'Relevant' Than Fiction? - New York Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
New York Times
What's Behind the Notion That Nonfiction Is More 'Relevant' Than Fiction?

 

Each week in Bookends, two writers take on pressing and provocative questions about the world of books. This week, Rivka Galchen and Pankaj Mishra discuss the boundaries of fiction and nonfiction, and the way each form reflects the world in which we live.

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Birte Hella's comment, October 23, 2013 10:21 PM
went to article, read it, and shared on Twitter... Thanks.
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Fear Factory - Detroit Metro Times

Fear Factory - Detroit Metro Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Detroit Metro Times

Fear Factory

 

Edgar Allen Poe, arguably the godfather of the horror genre (as well as the detective story), invented the template for horror literature back in the 19th century through mostly psychological excursions into dark recesses of the human condition. 

 

Then, in the 1920s and ’30s, Howard Phillips Lovecraft (better known as H.P. Lovecraft) repurposed that 19th century brand of horror to something more in line with the tastes of a blossoming 20th century.

 

Horror, be it in the form of the supernatural or the psychological, has been employed by such renowned literary writers as Henry James and William Faulkner, Virginia Woolf and Joyce Carol Oates.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

A lot of articles about horror literature in the days leading up to Halloween

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Journey into the dark - The West Australian

Journey into the dark - The West Australian | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Journey into the dark
The West Australian

 

Audaciously manipulating and misleading his readers while stretching the possibilities of the crime series format is par for the course for Nesbo, who clearly enjoys his "contract with the reader", but admits "every Harry Hole book I finish I have to take time off from because it is sort of a dark universe. Then a few months will pass and I will start longing to get back to that dark universe."

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

An introduction to Scandinavian crime novelist Jo Nesbo through his latest novel, "Police"

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Sartre wins and declines Nobel Prize — History.com This Day in History — 10/22/1964

Sartre wins and declines Nobel Prize — History.com This Day in History — 10/22/1964 | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

On this day in 1964, Jean-Paul Sartre is awarded the Nobel Prize for literature, which he declines.

 

In his novels, essays, and plays, Sartre advanced the philosophy of existentialism, arguing that each individual must create meaning for his or her own life, because life itself had no innate meaning.

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Our Veiw: Welcoming a new international city of literature - Iowa City Press Citizen

Our Veiw: Welcoming a new international city of literature
Iowa City Press Citizen

 

When first recognized by UNESCO as an international City of Literature back in 2008, Iowa City entered a very exclusive group in which the only other members were Edinburgh, Scotland, and Melbourne, Australia.

The list expanded in 2010 to include the very deserving Dublin, Ireland; then expanded again in 2011 to include the group’s first non-English-speaking member: Reykjavik, Iceland; and then further expanded in 2012 to include Norwich, England.

 

On Monday, UNESCO announced a seventh international city of literature: Krakow, Poland.

 

For Americans, Krakow might not seem as obvious a selection as Dublin — especially given the Irish capital’s well-known literary connections to authors such as Jonathan Swift, James Joyce and Roddy Doyle. But glancing through Krakow’s 66-page application (available at http://bit.ly/19okLtw), it’s clear that the city not only is the cultural capital of Poland, it’s also one of the main cultural capitals of Eastern Europe.

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How Margaret Atwood Creates Scary-Plausible Future Worlds

How Margaret Atwood Creates Scary-Plausible Future Worlds | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Margaret Atwood writes stories that are deeply troublingly human by building elaborate worlds that resemble ours. Here she explains her process for...

Via Sharon Bakar
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A Life: Blanche Gelfant, 1922-2013; 'She Was Very Much About You Do Your ... - Valley News

A Life: Blanche Gelfant, 1922-2013; 'She Was Very Much About You Do Your ... - Valley News | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
A Life: Blanche Gelfant, 1922-2013; 'She Was Very Much About You Do Your ...
Valley News

 

Her writing about Willa Cather was groundbreaking. David Stouck, who lives in West Vancouver, British Columbia and wrote a book about Willa Cather, met Gelfant at a centennial for the author in 1973 in Nebraska.

 

When Gelfant wrote about Cather’s My Antonia, she deconstructed the novel, Stouck said, and was looking for things, like sexual violence, that don’t appear on the pages, but are clearly there.

 

“Blanche was drawing the reader’s attention to the ugly side of the carpet, the part you don’t see,” said Stouck. “She was pointing out things that the reader would have picked up on but wouldn’t have questioned. Reading Willa Cather was never the same after that.”

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

An homage to retired English professor Blanche Gelfant, the first woman appointed to a full professorship at Dartmouth College

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A Tale Worthy of Poe: The Myth of George Bateson and his Belfry - History News Network

A Tale Worthy of Poe: The Myth of George Bateson and his Belfry - History News Network | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
History News Network

A Tale Worthy of Poe: The Myth of George Bateson and his Belfry

 

 

“Edgar Allan Poe: Terror of the Soul” has just opened at New York’s Morgan Library and Museum. The exhibit is part of a larger effort -- especially since his 2009 bicentennial -- to rehabilitate Poe as a major American writer, more than just a mere teller of lurid and shocking tales. The Morgan’s curators particularly emphasize Poe’s marked influence on later, highly-respected authors in Britain and the United States. Yet, at the same time, any exploration of Poe must delve into his strange and macabre creations. The show’s timing, opening just a few weeks before Halloween, is surely not coincidental.

The morbid darkness of Poe’s writings owes much to his own psyche… but it also draws heavily on the cultural preoccupations of his day. The Romantic focus on early and tragic death, the horrors of madness, murder, and perversity -- all reflect very real Victorian fascinations on both sides of the Atlantic.

- See more at: http://hnn.us/article/153726#sthash.PpvgQtLR.dpuf

“Edgar Allan Poe: Terror of the Soul” has just opened at New York’s Morgan Library and Museum. The exhibit is part of a larger effort -- especially since his 2009 bicentennial -- to rehabilitate Poe as a major American writer, more than just a mere teller of lurid and shocking tales. The Morgan’s curators particularly emphasize Poe’s marked influence on later, highly-respected authors in Britain and the United States. Yet, at the same time, any exploration of Poe must delve into his strange and macabre creations. The show’s timing, opening just a few weeks before Halloween, is surely not coincidental.

The morbid darkness of Poe’s writings owes much to his own psyche… but it also draws heavily on the cultural preoccupations of his day. The Romantic focus on early and tragic death, the horrors of madness, murder, and perversity -- all reflect very real Victorian fascinations on both sides of the Atlantic.

- See more at: http://hnn.us/article/153726#sthash.PpvgQtLR.dpuf
Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

The original source won't let me copy and paste a summary, but the article describes how Poe's work originated both from his own psyche and from the "cultural preoccupations" of his day.

 

 

“Edgar Allan Poe: Terror of the Soul” has just opened at New York’s Morgan Library and Museum. The exhibit is part of a larger effort -- especially since his 2009 bicentennial -- to rehabilitate Poe as a major American writer, more than just a mere teller of lurid and shocking tales. The Morgan’s curators particularly emphasize Poe’s marked influence on later, highly-respected authors in Britain and the United States. Yet, at the same time, any exploration of Poe must delve into his strange and macabre creations. The show’s timing, opening just a few weeks before Halloween, is surely not coincidental.

The morbid darkness of Poe’s writings owes much to his own psyche… but it also draws heavily on the cultural preoccupations of his day. The Romantic focus on early and tragic death, the horrors of madness, murder, and perversity -- all reflect very real Victorian fascinations on both sides of the Atlantic.

- See more at: http://hnn.us/article/153726#sthash.PpvgQtLR.dpuf
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Alan Hollinghurst on the genius of Penelope Fitzgerald - Telegraph.co.uk

Alan Hollinghurst on the genius of Penelope Fitzgerald - Telegraph.co.uk | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Telegraph.co.uk

Alan Hollinghurst on the genius of Penelope Fitzgerald

 

Fitzgerald professed herself drawn as a writer to “people who seem to have been born defeated or even profoundly lost… They are ready to assume the conditions the world imposes on them, but they don’t manage to submit to them, despite their courage and their best efforts… When I write it is to give these people a voice.” In Offshore, her barge dwellers, “creatures neither of firm land nor water”, may aspire to the “sensible” and “adequate” conditions of life on the Chelsea shore. “But a certain failure, distressing to themselves, to be like other people, caused them to sink back, with so much else that drifted or was washed up, into the mud moorings of the great tideway.” She wrote later that she regretted translations of her title that suggested “far from the shore” – the point was the unsteady nature of the craft anchored mere yards away from the bank, and the “emotional restlessness of my characters, halfway between the need for security and the doubtful attraction of danger”.

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Norman Mailer, Warts And All, In 'A Double Life' - WUWM

Norman Mailer, Warts And All, In 'A Double Life' - WUWM | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Norman Mailer, Warts And All, In 'A Double Life'

WUWM

 

Lennon's 900 page volume, Norman Mailer, A Double Life, is the first biography since Mailer's death. There were several others during his lifetime, some leaning more toward the life, others focusing more on the work. Lennon tries to balance the two realms. But A Double Life makes for intriguing reading mainly because it's a warts-and-all account of Mailer that uses all of the material Lennon gained from 25 years of nearly complete access to his subject while he was still upright and breathing — and even a few scenes garnered from the accounts of family members gathered around Mailer's deathbed.

 

The "double life" of the title refers to Mailer's ability to participate in the world, to throw himself into the volatile whorl of sex, ideas, work, politics, and family — and yet have the ability to stand back from it all, coolly evaluating and considering.

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Alex Miller: 'These characters have been me' – interview - The Guardian

Alex Miller: 'These characters have been me' – interview - The Guardian | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Alex Miller: 'These characters have been me' – interview

The Guardian

 

Miller seems to be always looking for complexity, genuinely interested in the people he meets, fossicking for the ways people resist being typecast. “We are all unusual individuals – none of us fits the stereotype perfectly, even if we’re trying to.”

 

Long diagnosed with “cowboy syndrome” – a reluctance to show or share personal emotions, or, as Miller describes it, “an absolute determination to have my autonomy” – the writer has always had a very strong sense of self. “Becoming a writer was about claiming my own autonomy from ever doing anything or saying anything or writing anything I didn’t believe in.”

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The Counselor: A-list cast outshined by Cormac McCarthy's hellbound script - The Globe and Mail

The Counselor: A-list cast outshined by Cormac McCarthy's hellbound script - The Globe and Mail | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
San Francisco Chronicle

The Counselor: A-list cast outshined by Cormac McCarthy's hellbound script

The Globe and Mail

 

In this doomed flirtation with fate, a game of chance played against the coldest house of them all, the Counselor is joining a team of certified losers who will be familiar to anyone who’s read McCarthy – you’ll recognize the similarly suicidal chance taken by the fortune-finding protagonist of No Country – and anyone who’s visited the literary or cinematic terrain the author evokes: the scorched-earth world of crime fiction practised by the likes of Dashiell Hammett, Jim Thompson and Patricia Highsmith, and the shadow-stricken world of film noir. In these traditions, the forces of darkness never have to recruit. They just sit patiently waiting for people to come knocking, which they always do.

 

It is the nature of people in these fictional worlds to do wrong: not because they are bad (though some are), or because they are stupid (though some are), or even because they are duped (though some are), but because it’s in people to damn themselves if the price is right. Call it Satan’s advantage: If God has to work to win people over to His side, the Devil just lets human nature take its course.

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Unveiling the mystery behind Mrs. Poe's past - Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Unveiling the mystery behind Mrs. Poe's past - Fort Wayne Journal Gazette | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Unveiling the mystery behind Mrs. Poe's past
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

 

[Lynn Cullen's] latest book, “Mrs. Poe,” released earlier this month, is the story of Frances Locke Osgood and her relationship with the poet Edgar Allen [sic] Poe.

. . .

“I’m always listening for my characters to tell me their story,” Cullen said. “They surprise me all the time. Having a character find me is one of the highs of being a novelist.”

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Ex-Mossad spy's fiction fascination - Jerusalem Post

Ex-Mossad spy's fiction fascination - Jerusalem Post | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Ex-Mossad spy's fiction fascination
Jerusalem Post

 

For retired Israeli spy Mishka Ben-David, writing fiction was a realization of artistic aspirations he had long suppressed.

Ben-David had a doctorate in Hebrew literature and four books published when the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad recruited him in 1987. He agreed to avoid the authorial limelight as he embarked on a career of surveillance and subterfuge. . . .

Ben-David, 61, spoke to Reuters at his home near Jerusalem about the benefits and drawbacks of taking creative inspiration from real-life espionage.

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Why Do We Watch Horror Films? Some Want To Understand Archetypal Fears ... - Medical Daily

Why Do We Watch Horror Films? Some Want To Understand Archetypal Fears ... - Medical Daily | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Medical Daily
Why Do We Watch Horror Films? Some Want To Understand Archetypal Fears ...

 

Torture. Demented, gory Nazi-like science experiments conducted by mad scientists. And people being killed by bloodthirsty, diseased fellow humans. Horror movies take on all these dark, twisted, and just plain frightful storylines. But why do we watch them? It turns out that there are many reasons: Some people want to watch something that addresses their archetypal fears, while others just want to go along for the psychological ride.

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Poppen Report's curator insight, July 5, 2015 2:36 PM

BEING VACCINATED TURNS YOU INTO A BRAIN DEAD ZOMBIE! VIA RFID CHIPS FREQUENCIES.

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Storycraft: Fiction's Inner Landscape: Point of View and Interiority in ...

Storycraft: Fiction's Inner Landscape: Point of View and Interiority in ... | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Jim Harrison has long held a prominent place on my shelf of great American writers. I love his affirmative and highly spiritual vision of nature’s place in humanity’s consciousness, and I love the wild beauty of his descriptive prose. One of the things he does best is portraying the thoughts and feelings of his characters: what some writers call “interiority.”

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An excellent introduction to this topic

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Meet Caesar, man of letters, says Stanford’s Christopher Krebs

Meet Caesar, man of letters, says Stanford’s Christopher Krebs | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Professor of classics revisits Julius Caesar’s time-honored work "The Gallic War," revealing that beneath the military garb prowled a man of supreme intellectual abilities.

 

Glorious general, cunning politician, ruler of the mighty Roman Empire: this is the Julius Caesar we have long known.

 

But this appears to be only half the story, according to Stanford Classics Professor Christopher Krebs. A specialist in ancient Roman literature, Krebs notes that, apart from his well-known military exploits, Caesar was a man of letters who saw eye to eye with the famed Roman orator Cicero; a prolific writer and skilled linguist; and commissioner of the Julian calendar.

 

It is this lesser-known Caesar – the literary virtuoso rather than the conqueror of Gaul – whom Krebs describes in a new project he calls "Caesar 2.0." His research involves reading Caesar's main surviving text, the Commentarii de Bello Gallico (also known as The Gallic War), in an entirely new way: as a piece of literary art and a product of its cultural context rather than as a straightforward military journal.

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