Literature & Psychology
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Page: Finding our character in fiction - Albany Times Union

Page: Finding our character in fiction
Albany Times Union

 

Aristotle said that the function of drama is to evoke pity and fear in the audience. So we need strong, complicated and disagreeable characters to keep us reading, keep us watching. When we encounter these fictional people in the pages of books or in movies, a part of what we do is identify with them, in spite of ourselves. I mean, Dostoyevsky couldn't have come up with a character as morbidly sympathetic as Raskolnikov in "Crime and Punishment" if he didn't, on some level, know that it's a reliable warp in human nature that tempts some people to believe that murder is admissible — at least for an extraordinary person, such as Raskolnikov fancies himself he might be.

 

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Eleanor Catton, Douglas Coupland up for Hatchet Job award - CBC.ca

Eleanor Catton, Douglas Coupland up for Hatchet Job award - CBC.ca | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Edmonton Journal

Eleanor Catton, Douglas Coupland up for Hatchet Job award CBC.ca

 

A moan about Morrissey, a scathing critique of Douglas Coupland and a bitter verdict on Donna Tartt are contenders for Britain's Hatchet Job award, honouring the year's most cutting book reviews.

 

Eight finalists announced Tuesday include A.A. Gill's verdict on Autobiography by former Smiths lead singer Morrissey — "utterly devoid of insight, warmth, wisdom or likability" — and Peter Kemp's dismissal of Tartt's best-selling novel The Goldfinch: "a turkey."

 

The Hatchet Job award was established in 2011 by literary website The Omnivore to honour "the angriest, funniest, most trenchant" review published in a newspaper or magazine.

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Helix Can Fill the Fringe-Sized Hole in Your Heart - Slate Magazine (blog)

Helix Can Fill the Fringe-Sized Hole in Your Heart - Slate Magazine (blog) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Slate Magazine (blog)

Helix Can Fill the Fringe-Sized Hole in Your Heart

 

Great discoveries in science are usually—if not always—the result of synthesis. Einstein’s recipe for special relativity, for example, required his drawing on previous studies of motion, light, electricity, and magnetism in order to develop a theory that, while touching on all those fields, was also new.

 

The same rule applies, it would seem, to the best science-fiction TV shows—to make a great one, you need to assemble a range of material from the genre, mix it up, and hope that, when the smoke clears and the static dissipates, your creation is both familiar enough to draw an audience and novel enough to keep them interested.

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Person of Interest's producers tell us what the Machine really is - io9

Person of Interest's producers tell us what the Machine really is - io9 | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Person of Interest's producers tell us what the Machine really is
io9
Person of Interest is back from mid-season hiatus, and already the show is delving deeply into science fictional themes, like the nature of AI consciousness.

 

Along with Ancillary Justice and Her, Person of Interest is part of a new wave of science fiction stories that are trying to imagine AI as a multiple consciousness, with flaws and contradictions, rather than a monolithic, single-minded "superintelligence."

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'The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking' by Olivia Laing - Washington Post

'The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking' by Olivia Laing - Washington Post | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
'The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking' by Olivia Laing
Washington Post


For Laing, who apparently has never met a pop-psychological argument she doesn't love, it's far more than that. . . .

. . .

walking along the beach in Key West, Laing is pleased to be told by a passing stranger, and hastens to pass it along to us: “I hope your day is as beautiful as you are.” That is pretty much the poisonous icing on the inedible cake of this dreadful book, an exercise in narcissism and irrelevance from first page to last.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Too bad. This book intrigued me.

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William Nicholson: 'The novelist who thinks that "story" is a dirty word had ... - The Guardian

William Nicholson: 'The novelist who thinks that "story" is a dirty word had ... - The Guardian | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Guardian

 

The author and screenwriter talks to Nicholas Wroe about emotional openness, storytelling and how Hollywood critiques help you focus as a novelist

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Opinion Rex - American Thinker

Opinion Rex - American Thinker | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Opinion Rex
American Thinker

 

Welcome to the modern Academy, the seat of opinion-based "education." A French Literature professor assigns the most obscure and risqué writers. A twelfth century chanteuse of sexual freedom (M. de France) takes center stage, while major French writers hardly command a footnote. In their "journal de lecture", students simply describe their impression about the "poems", whether they liked it, and why. A Western Literature teacher overlooks Virgil, Dante, Goethe, and Dostoyevsky, among others, because "there is no such thing as a literary canon." The reading list is not based on literary quality, but on the author's membership of a "marginalized" group. A History of Theater professor mocks classical plays and assigns his own. A Translation instructor prompts her students to produce their own translations; no rules of grammar, please. The Philosophy professor proclaims that he is, oh, so bored with Aristotle. The Philosophy of Photography, instead, commands his praise. An Ethics professor extols liberty as sole "moral law", and disdains "those obsolete" normative principles of moral philosophy. Follow your bliss.

 

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Offered in the spirit of helping you expand your horizons

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Good reads (and listens) - Elk Grove Citizen

Good reads (and listens) - Elk Grove Citizen | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Good reads (and listens)

Elk Grove Citizen

 

“I’ve noticed that 90 percent of the people who need therapy never go; they feel embarrassed, unsure, etc.,” Sommer said. “I thought that maybe I, as a clinical psychologist, could bring an interesting story to the fiction world that would expose readers to ideas that may be helpful to their health.”

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How to Be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis – review

How to Be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis – review | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Claire Harman on a bibliophile's journey through the books that made her
Should one ever read fiction for advice or guidance?

 

Samantha Ellis, a playwright brought up in London in an Iraqi-Jewish family, offers herself up in this warm-spirited biblio-autobiography as just such a susceptible reader as Catherine, unable and unwilling to draw too definite a line between life and books. Ellis's childhood was haunted by her family's persecution in Iraq under the Ba'athist regime, and books became a vital refuge as well as a source of assurance that "imagination, instead of being a flaw, might be my best hope". She is ardent about everything and writes of her favourite novels as if they were drugs, "inhaling" them, indulging in them, bingeing. Most of all, she wants to interact with her reading, judge it as she would life and assess its characters as if "I were playing Snog, Marry, Avoid (let's face it, I sort of am)".

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Apparently another book in the "how literature shaped my life" movement

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Dear diary, how did you become part of our literary culture? - The Guardian (blog)

Dear diary, how did you become part of our literary culture? - The Guardian (blog) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Guardian (blog)
Dear diary, how did you become part of our literary culture?

 

Fictional diaries have been amusing and entertaining us since the modern novel's early days. Here are some favourite examples.

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What it was really like at the Algonquin Round Table - Los Angeles Times

What it was really like at the Algonquin Round Table - Los Angeles Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
What it was really like at the Algonquin Round Table
Los Angeles Times

 

That's Marc Connelly, one of the members of the Algonquin Round Table, talking about his literary friends in the documentary "New York in the 1920s." Several of the best wits and most acclaimed authors of the era lunched together at the Algonquin Hotel, egging each other on and throwing barbs.

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History to dominate at the 2014 Jaipur Literature Festival | The ...

History to dominate at the 2014 Jaipur Literature Festival | The ... | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Covering wide ranging events from Stalingrad to the rise and fall of Vijayanagra, the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, to the life of Jesus, the seventh edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival will host such luminaries as Antony Beevor, one of the world’s most successful non-fiction writers, acclaimed Professor Maya Jasanoff from Harvard University, renowned British historian Mary Beard as well as a sneak peak of the forthcoming portrait of Delhi, Capital, from Commonwealth Prize-wining Rana Dasgupta.

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10 Literary Blogs Every 20-Something Should Read - PolicyMic

10 Literary Blogs Every 20-Something Should Read - PolicyMic | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
PolicyMic

10 Literary Blogs Every 20-Something Should Read

 

The new literary generation is here, and it's bored — bored with the New Yorker, bored with the New York Times, bored with the New York Review of Books.

 

We need new literary sustenance. We want writing by people who understand the tremendous attentional effort it requires to read more than three sentences of anything. We want a literary La La Land that gives us gifs and James Joyce in the same breath. Screw it — we want gifs of James Joyce.

 

While I look for those, take a look at these: The best — funniest, crassest, headiest, least boring, most addictive — literary blogs for 20-something readers and writers.

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Our growing appetite for 'chick noir' - Telegraph.co.uk

Our growing appetite for 'chick noir' - Telegraph.co.uk | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Telegraph.co.uk

Our growing appetite for 'chick noir'

 

“I'd define 'chick noir' as psychological thrillers that explore the fears and anxieties experienced by many women,” Whitehouse says. “They deal in the dark side of relationships, intimate danger, the idea that you can never really know your husband or partner or that your home and relationship is threatened. In these books, danger sleeps next to you. Marriage is catnip for writers of psychological suspense because it's such a private, intimate relationship.”

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

The article attributes the origins of "chick noir" to "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn and "Before I Go to Sleep" by S. J. Watson.

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Sara Rosett's curator insight, January 17, 2014 1:42 PM

Another sign that #chick #lit isn't dead.... 

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Statistical Stylometry: Quantifying Elements of Writing Style that ...

Statistical Stylometry: Quantifying Elements of Writing Style that ... | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Statistical Stylometry: Quantifying Elements of Writing Style that Differentiate Successful Fiction · 10 Jan. Can good writing be differentiated from bad writing through some kind of algorithm?

 

 Statistical stylometry is the statistical analysis of variations in literary style between one writer or genre and another. This study reports, for the first time, that the discipline can be effective in distinguishing highly successful literature from its less successful counterpart, achieving accuracy rates as high as 84%.

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Moore offers vivid portrait of young adulthood - Montreal Gazette

Moore offers vivid portrait of young adulthood - Montreal Gazette | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Montreal Gazette
Moore offers vivid portrait of young adulthood

 

It might be down to Norman Mailer, or to Andy Warhol, or to the compulsive-sharing culture fostered by social media. Whatever route it took to get here, reality fiction — the rapidly growing form that delights in mocking the traditional lines between the real and the invented, between people and words on a page representing people — looks to have arrived to stay. At its best, as in Sheila Heti’s How Should a Person Be?, it’s an undertaking that opens up all kinds of useful questions about the very nature and purpose of fiction. What can get lost, though, is the clarifying perspective and narrative propulsion good fiction provides — the shaping of life into what we like to call art.

 

Squarely between those two poles lands Nathaniel G. Moore’s Savage 1986-2011.

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The Long Road to 'Under the Dome' in Paperback - FEARnet.com

The Long Road to 'Under the Dome' in Paperback - FEARnet.com | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
FEARnet.com

The Long Road to 'Under the Dome' in Paperback

 

The world of Stephen King publishing, which is always a weird and exciting place, has recently gotten even stranger.  Starting next month, Stephen King’s popular 2009 novel, Under the Dome, will finally be released in mass-market paperback.  Actually, make that paperbacks, plural – the book is divided in half; part one comes on February 25th, and part 2 arrives March 25th.  Questions arise: why now?  Why did it take so long?  And is this just a cynical cash grab to capitalize on the overwhelming success of the miniseries?  All fair questions, but the answers might be a little more surprising and complex than you’d think. - 

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Some interesting info on the current world of publishing.

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'Dulce et Decorum Est' by Wilfred Owen - Literature of the First World War

'Dulce et Decorum Est' by Wilfred Owen - Literature of the First World War | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

It is now the tenth day of 2014 and soon it will be a century since the start of the War to end all Wars, the frischer fröhlicher Krieg, the Grande Guerre. This war was unlike any Europe had seen before, encompassing all of the continent into a conflict that costs it an immeasurable amount of lives, only to be repeated and intensified twenty years later. Naturally, this had a massive effect on the people's minds at the time and some of its best literature has roots in this period.

. . .

 

While recovering from shell shock in Birmingham, his psychologist advised his to write his dreams and ideas down and many of his poems are an account of his nightmares and fears. ...

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Doctorow Ruminates On How A 'Brain' Becomes A Mind - NPR

Doctorow Ruminates On How A 'Brain' Becomes A Mind - NPR | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Doctorow Ruminates On How A 'Brain' Becomes A Mind

NPR

 

When — how — does our brain become our mind? Our heart? Us, whatever we are? And how do we live with memories when they begin to burst inside?

 

E.L. Doctorow's new novel is called Andrew's Brain, and it plunges inside the brain of a man who tells the story of trying to outrun the memories rattling around in there, of a disaster he blames on himself, a daughter he couldn't hold close, and an indelible crime that overwhelms his world.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

I'm adding this book to my [already impossibly long] reading list.

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Time, History and Literature » 3:AM Magazine

Time, History and Literature » 3:AM Magazine | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

“Erich Auerbach (1892-1957), best known for his classic literary study Mimesis, is celebrated today as a founder of comparative literature, a forerunner of secular criticism, and a prophet of global literary studies. Yet the true depth of Auerbach’s thinking and writing remains unplumbed. Time, History, and Literature presents a wide selection of Auerbach’s essays, many of which are little known outside the German-speaking world. Of the twenty essays culled for this volume from the full length of his career, twelve have never appeared in English before, and one is being published for the first time.

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What “Monster Porn” Says about Science and Sexuality - Scientific American (blog)

What “Monster Porn” Says about Science and Sexuality - Scientific American (blog) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Scientific American (blog)

What “Monster Porn” Says about Science and Sexuality

 

“What does woman want?” Freud once whined. Turns out quite a few women want fantasy sex with T. rex, Sasquatch or a boar-headed god. That, at any rate, is the implication of “monster porn,” which serves up X-rated versions of such demure classics as Leda and the Swan, King Kong or Beauty and the Beast.

 

Also known as “cryptozoological erotica” or “erotic horror,” monster porn has flourished in the Internet era, which offers abundant platforms for self-publication. According to a report in Business Insider, some authors—most apparently female–are making serious moola peddling tales of humans—most apparently female—coupling with “creatures of every possible variety, from minotaurs to mermen, cthulhus to leprechauns, extraterrestrials to cyclops.”

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Rebecca Mead: Jennifer Weiner’s Quest for Literary Respect

Rebecca Mead: Jennifer Weiner’s Quest for Literary Respect | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Weiner’s novels have sold millions of copies, but lately, through her blog and her Twitter account, she has stoked a public discussion about the reception of fiction written by women.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

If you haven't kept up with this ongoing controversy, this piece provides a good overview.

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Denis O'Hare stars in one-man show 'An Iliad' - Frontiers LA

Denis O'Hare stars in one-man show 'An Iliad' - Frontiers LA | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Denis O'Hare stars in one-man show 'An Iliad'
Frontiers LA

 

Denis O’Hare is the kind of actor you recognize immediately. No matter which role he plays, he’s guaranteed to steal every single scene. His list of projects is quite impressive: True Blood, American Horror Story, Milk, The Proposal, Dallas Buyers Club, C.O.G. and Michael Clayton. O’Hare is also a veteran of the stage and will be appearing in the one-man performance of An Iliad at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, Jan. 14 to Feb. 2. Based on Homer’s epic war poem The Iliad, An Iliad is O’Hare’s debut as a theater writer. We talked to the out actor about how grueling a one-man show can be, the obstacles gay actors still face and how his hatred of George Bush made him say ‘yes’ to this project. 

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Has Creepypasta Reinvented Classic Folklore? - io9

Has Creepypasta Reinvented Classic Folklore? - io9 | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Has Creepypasta Reinvented Classic Folklore?

 

If you ever read a story online about a haunted TV episode, you've already eaten the creepypasta. Scary viral stories, images, and vids, often very short, are creepypasta — some will scare you so much that they've been nicknamed "shitbrix." And they could be the closest thing we have to folklore in the twenty-first century.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Interesting. . . 

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Children's literature is still a boy's world - Sentinel and Enterprise

Children's literature is still a boy's world - Sentinel and Enterprise | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Children's literature is still a boy's world
Sentinel and Enterprise

 

My 5-year-old insists that Bilbo Baggins is a girl.

 

The first time she made this claim, I protested. Part of the fun of reading to your kids, after all, is in sharing the stories you loved as a child. And in the story I knew, Bilbo was a boy. A boy hobbit. (Whatever that entails.)

But my daughter was determined. She liked the story pretty well so far, but Bilbo was definitely a girl. So would I please start reading the book the right way?

 

I hesitated. I imagined Tolkien spinning in his grave. I imagined mean letters from his testy estate. I imagined the story getting as lost in gender distinctions as dwarves in the Mirkwood.

 

Then I thought: It's just a pronoun. My daughter wants Bilbo to be a girl, so a girl she will be.

 

And you know what? The switch was easy. Bilbo, it turns out, makes a terrific heroine. She's tough, resourceful, humble, funny and uses her wits to make off with a spectacular piece of jewelry. Perhaps most importantly, she never makes an issue of her gender -- and neither does anyone else

 

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