Literature & Psychology
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Popping the Question: A Survey of Literature's Non-Traditional Marriage Proposals - The Millions

Popping the Question: A Survey of Literature's Non-Traditional Marriage Proposals - The Millions | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Popping the Question: A Survey of Literature's Non-Traditional Marriage Proposals
The Millions

 

In stripping the marriage proposal of any trace of romance, seduction, and emotion, The Childhood of Jesus spurred me to think about similarly uninspired literary declarations of love. These offers, always disappointing and often unacceptable, dispel the excitement implicit in the expression, “to pop the question,” which conveys how asking for someone’s hand in marriage is tied to a sense of surprise, and by extension, a narrative surrounding that surprise: an engagement story.

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The Falling Sky: A Different Sort of Science Fiction - Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

The Falling Sky: A Different Sort of Science Fiction - Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Falling Sky: A Different Sort of Science Fiction

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

 

For how little respect it gets in literary circles, science-fiction, is a genre that takes the big questions seriously and remains the best tool we have for thinking through the social and ethical questions brought about by technology and for reflecting upon what it means to be human given the decline, at least among many educated persons, of the kinds intellectual and emotional buttresses once provided by religion and the adoption of a materialist worldview that has been built largely out of the discoveries of modern science.

 

It was in the sense of reflecting upon what it means to be human and what all those experiences that surround every human life such as time, birth and death, love and loss, from a standpoint that is essentially agnostic or atheistic that I found the recent first novel called The Falling Sky  by the one time astronomer, Pippa Goldschmidt, such an amazing work of art. It is as if Goldschmitt has invented a brand new form of science-fiction though perhaps she doesn’t think of her work as any sort of science-fiction at all.

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'October List' brings innovation to crime fiction genre - NYU Washington Square News

'October List' brings innovation to crime fiction genre - NYU Washington Square News | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
NYU Washington Square News

'October List' brings innovation to crime fiction genre

 

With several bestselling crime novels under his belt, author Jeffery Deaver knows best when it comes to the formula for cooking up another crime success. “The October List” is no different. The fast-paced fiction is a complex, page-turning thriller with one big twist — it begins with the end.

 

Deaver dives into the climax of the story by beginning with the last chapter of the book and progressing backwards. He quickly introduces Gabriela McKenzie, a mother desperate to reclaim her kidnapped daughter. The same chapter introduces Daniel Reardon, McKenzie’s handsome and wealthy companion, whom she has only known for two days, and Joseph Astor, the sadistic kidnapper. Although the novel begins in vague fashion, it is precisely this technique that keeps readers enticed, as Deaver leaves deliberate clues that come together as the book progresses.

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NBC brings new approach to classic character in 'Ironside' - HispanicBusiness.com

NBC brings new approach to classic character in 'Ironside'
HispanicBusiness.com

 

Underwood's version is more like the gritty cops portrayed in the 1970s movies "The French Connection" and "Serpico." That's because those movies were what "Ironside" executive producer Ken Sanzel watched when he was young.

"I think that was the moment when crime drama started to match the weight of crime literature," Sanzel says. " I don't think that if you're doing a contemporary show, with real dirt under its fingernails, you can help but evoke that era of police stories and crime dramas without necessarily being a throwback.

"The character's a tough-minded character, and that's going to evoke that moment when our perception of police and police drama changed."

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Author Nelson DeMille talks Dan Brown, Ayn Rand and his Holy Grail novel - USA TODAY

Author Nelson DeMille talks Dan Brown, Ayn Rand and his Holy Grail novel - USA TODAY | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Author Nelson DeMille talks Dan Brown, Ayn Rand and his Holy Grail novel
USA TODAY

 

Bestselling author Nelson DeMille has made a career out of timely thrillers set against the threat of war--from the Cold War to the War on Terror. But early in his career in 1975, long before Dan Brown revived the religious-thriller genre with The Da Vinci Code, DeMille penned a novel about the Holy Grail called The Quest. Thirty-seven years later, DeMille has updated and republished the book, which should please his fans and Dan Brown fanatics alike. DeMille spoke with Bookish about resurrecting his early work (which would have been "another Da Vinci knockoff--except that it was done 25 years before"), why we're still as fascinated by the Holy Grail as we were in the days of Monty Python and Indiana Jones, why most anti-terrorism thrillers are "overdone" and what everyone can learn from Ayn Rand.

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What's Terrifying Teens In Today's YA Novels? The Economy. - NPR

What's Terrifying Teens In Today's YA Novels? The Economy. - NPR | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
NPR
What's Terrifying Teens In Today's YA Novels? The Economy.

 

Reading these books, I find it hard not to remember that The Hunger Games debuted in September 2008, the same month that Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy. Or that the number of American children living in poverty jumped by more than three million in the four years preceding Divergent's 2011 publication. Financial stress in young adult novels may be nothing new: Louisa May Alcott's 1868 classic opens with "Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents." But to me it seems clear that the economic anxieties keeping today's adults awake at night — income inequality, food insecurity, downward mobility, winner-takes-all competition — have also invaded the literature of their children.

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Spokane Is Reading author talks about setting's role in real-life happiness - The Spokesman Review

Spokane Is Reading author talks about setting's role in real-life happiness

The Spokesman Review I

 

The novel [Where's You Go, Bernadette] is rife with Bernadette’s rants about Seattle, with its Craftsmans everywhere and apparent two hairstyles (short gray, long gray) and blackberry bushes so invasive as to require the services of not a gardener but a blackberry abatement specialist.

 

The rants came from a place of pain and truth for Semple, she said – but her own sense of dislocation has since faded, traded for affection for the city and a “visceral connection” with its patchy sky and, yes, its mountains and water.

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Jonathan Lethem on the subversive power of comics and science fiction - The Verge

Jonathan Lethem on the subversive power of comics and science fiction - The Verge | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Jonathan Lethem on the subversive power of comics and science fiction

The Verge

 

Jonathan Lethem makes no secret of his influences. His first published novel, Gun, with Occasional Music, riffed on the hard-boiled detective fiction of Raymond Chandler. He’s written an academic novel in the style of Don Delillo (As She Climbed Across the Table), and crossbred E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India with John Ford’s The Searchers, transporting the Western to an alien world in Girl in Landscape. He’s even written about “the ecstasy of influence,” reminding us that no creative act arrives ex nihilo — it’s all, like his own work, a product of influences and appropriations, conscious and not.

 

His latest novel, Dissident Gardens, follows three generations of utopian seekers whose American dreams are thwarted by reality. They’re activists to varying degrees and, as Lethem says, fundamentally uncomfortable in everyday life. Their stories trace a particular vein running through the country’s history, from the Communist cells of the 1930s to the Occupy movement of today.

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Prof's comments expose 'sexism, racism and homophobia' in literary world - Sun News Network

Prof's comments expose 'sexism, racism and homophobia' in literary world - Sun News Network | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Sun News Network
Prof's comments expose 'sexism, racism and homophobia' in literary world

 

TORONTO -- Controversial comments by acclaimed writer and professor David Gilmour's about not teaching female, Chinese or Canadian writers have pulled back the curtain on "sexism, racism and homophobia" in the Canadian literary world, says a board member of a non-profit women's literary group.

 

And, in the end, that may be a good thing, said Erin Wunker, assistant English professor at Mount Allison University and board member for the Canadian Women in the Literary Arts (CWILA).

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David Gilmour has a point - National Post

National Post

David Gilmour has a point

 

Gilmour deliberately overstated his case, but I think that buried beneath the foolish extremism and outright absurdity — George Eliot? Jane Austen? Emily Brontë? All chopped liver? — he has the makings of an actual point.

 

The publishing business once was mostly male, but by the 1970s that situation had begun to reverse itself, at least in regards to fiction. The Canadian literary scene, in particular, is dominated by women. Women readers buy and read more novels than men.

 

And what most women readers want is women’s-issues and women’s sensibilities-dominated books. I can easily see how a serious lover of literature, even a pretentious one, would find most Canadian literature by women that is gushed and Giller-ed over, however finely workshopped the prose, pretty slow-paced, broody and dull against the best male writers. As I myself once wrote about Canadian novels: “They’re all jumbled together in memory as feminized paeans to a sepulchral past, mired in poetically lyrical, but navel-gazing narrative stasis.”

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Barbara Kay defends David Gilmour. (See previous article.)

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The Horror, the Horror - The Weekly Standard

The Horror, the Horror - The Weekly Standard | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Weekly Standard
The Horror, the Horror

 

In Unutterable Horror, his deeply knowledgeable, lively, and unabashedly opinionated history of supernatural fiction, S. T. Joshi suggests that a taste for ghost stories and weird tales is far more than a slavering hunger for blood and grue. The most important supernatural fiction doesn’t merely aim to make our flesh creep. Through it, ambitious writers—and their readers—are able to explore the full range of human experience. Like many classical tragedies, these unsettling stories typically introduce a sense of wrongness, followed by growing dread, and gradually build to a moment of supreme crisis and terror. And yet their final effect is often a cathartic sense of pity. There, but for the grace of God, go you or I.

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Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons - PopMatters

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons - PopMatters | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
PopMatters

 

The idea of loss is a common theme in video games, but rarely is it used to make a point. I can speak from personal experience about the lack of care that I feel whenever my avatar dies, the people around them die, or I slaughter hundreds for the sake of progressing through the narrative or topping the multiplayer rankings. Starbreeze Studios newest downloadable title, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, takes on the theme of loss, the emotional weight that comes with it, and combines these elements in a deeply rich, modernist approach to storytelling that simultaneously breaks conventions associated with many of today’s interactive experiences. All in the hope it seems to deliver a true representation of what art might look like in a video game.

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Hollywood meets home - The Weekender

Hollywood meets home - The Weekender | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Hollywood meets home
The Weekender

 

“The English Teacher” follows Moore’s character Linda Sinclair, a 40-something high school English teacher at Kingston High School, whose need for perfection has been a mixed blessing. She’s passionate about the literature she teaches, and finds herself unable to snag a significant other who can measure up to the fictional romantic heroes she encounters through literature.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

An interesting premise: living through literature instead of living, you know, life.

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It Has Always Been Thus - The Millions

It Has Always Been Thus - The Millions | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
It Has Always Been Thus

The Millions

 

The debate between writers and critics over authorial intent is literally a life and death struggle. By literally, I mean figuratively. On the one hand, you have critics who have trumpeted “the death of the author” for several decades now, the view that holds that authors can’t be the true masters of their creations, can’t fully grasp the implications of language they pluck, seemingly, from a great assembly line of words and idioms. On the other hand, you have writers like those anthologized in The Story About the Story and The Story About the Story II, who argue, more often than not, that to read is to feel your mind, however fleetingly and incompletely, jacked into the mind of another, a connection that is perhaps more alive than even our relations with those we consider intimates.

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How Bookies Pick the Literature Nobel, Without Actually Reading - The Atlantic Wire

How Bookies Pick the Literature Nobel, Without Actually Reading - The Atlantic Wire | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Atlantic Wire
How Bookies Pick the Literature Nobel, Without Actually Reading

 

How exactly can author Haruki Murakami be the odds-on favorite to win the Nobel Prize in Literature if his book is only available in Japanese? For the most accurate Nobel oddsmaker Ladbrokes, reading the books is irrelevant — and the bookies openly made the prediction without any intentions to do so.

 

Given the Swedish Nobel Committee's intense secrecy, discussion of the future winner is active and open for debate among prognosticators. But they should just look to Ladbrokes, which has correctly predicted the Nobel Prize winner with 50 percent accuracy over the past eight years, according to the Boston Globe, making it far more accurate than most pundits or literary critics.

 

The secret to their success? Psychology. Most reporters writing on the coming Nobel decision are what one popular betting site's spokesman calls "lazy journalists," and they like to cite the bookies' odds — such as 3/1 favorite Haruki Murakami (right) — in their early stories on potential winners (guilty as charged). But by setting the early terms of the debate, Ladbrokes and other oddsmakers create a bandwagon-type effect where the bettors' favorite becomes the actual favorite. And this effect then builds its way up to the pundits and, potentially, to the Committee itself.

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Goldstein discusses the literature, philosophy dichotomy - The Dartmouth

Goldstein discusses the literature, philosophy dichotomy - The Dartmouth | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Goldstein discusses the literature, philosophy dichotomy

The Dartmouth

 

“The philosophical and literary self are inextricably intertwined,” she said. “We need literature for its perspective.” She said that the accessibility and emotion of characters make novels effective at communicating philosophical ideas, and praised the author’s role in influencing readers to sympathize with characters. “Philosophy, like science, is committed to a kind of epistemic democracy: the truth that is accessible to some is accessible to all,” she said. “Why pretend that one’s philosophical self isn’t involved in the murk of art?”

 

Goldstein noted metaphysical concepts, including reality, nature of the self and human agency, that are commonly discussed in philosophy. “But these things are as much to be felt as to be thought,” she said.

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Nordic noir's sexual violence attacked by British crime writer

Nordic noir's sexual violence attacked by British crime writer | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Bestselling author Ann Cleeves condemns gruesome scenes and morbid tone of Scandinavian books and TV dramas

 

A leading British detective story author has criticised the treatment of women by Scandinavian crime writers, saying that they seem intent on outdoing each other when depicting graphic violence against female characters.

 

Ann Cleeves, creator of the Vera Stanhope and Shetland novels, said she is concerned about a trend she believes has entered ever more morbid territory following the worldwide success of Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy. From the opening episode of the TV drama The Bridge, when the mutilated body of a female Swedish politician is discovered, to the first season of The Killing, which starts with a girl running for her life through a wood, and the serial killer targeting women in Jo Nesbø's The Leopard, violence against females is prevalent in Scandinavian noir.

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Cleeves raises an interesting question about violence in crime fiction: "I'm not sure if it's being done just to entertain, or whether it really is necessary for the characters involved."

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Meeting Milton Hershey: New kids time-traveling book series focuses on ... - PennLive.com

Meeting Milton Hershey: New kids time-traveling book series focuses on ...

 

"We thought it was important that kids be able to use these books and figure out what was the truth and what wasn't," Williams said, describing how the books have sections showing the "real" story behind historical events covered in the books, as well as a listing of neat state facts.

 

"Part of when we were writing this series was I was thinking about 'what are the books you can read about states that tell you interesting tidbits?' And there are hardly any," Williams said. "When you couch facts and fiction the way we've done it, it makes it more palpable and interesting and I think that's good for kids."

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

About a book series "targeted for intermediate readers, those kids not quite ready for middle grade novels such as "Wrinkle in Time" by Madeline L'Engle, but at the same time too sophisticated for the Dr. Seuss books."

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The Splintered Mind: Fiction and Skepticism

The Splintered Mind: Fiction and Skepticism | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Is there something one can do, philosophically, with fiction that one can't, or can't as easily, do with expository prose? I think of all the great philosophers who have tried their hand at fiction or who have integrated fictions into their philosophical work -- Plato, Voltaire, Boethius, Sartre, Camus, Nietzsche, Zhuangzi, Rousseau, Unamuno, Kierkegaard... -- and I think there must be something to it. (I think too of fiction writers who develop philosophical themes, such as Borges.) It is not, I'm inclined to think, merely a secondary pursuit, unconnected to their philosophy, or a pretty but inessential way of costuming philosophy that could equally well be conveyed in a more conventional manner.

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Female literary characters that deserve a second chance - The Independent Florida Alligator (blog)

Female literary characters that deserve a second chance

The Independent Florida Alligator

 

After writing about Skyler White, I started thinking about the vast amount of female characters that don’t get enough appreciation. Television is flooded with them, though it all started in books. I’m not talking about Bella Swan, but rather the female characters who weren’t always at the forefront of the story, who might have been disliked by readers but deserve some recognition. While not perfect, they represent all types of women, breaking the archetype that one has to be supporting, loving and in need of a male protagonist to satisfy readers’ appetites for normalcy in literature.

 

These women weren’t always favorites. They were obstacles, betrayers, burnt out, cynical and realistic.

 

Writers put in just as much effort to perfect a foil or antagonist as they would a hero. In order to affect readers, they’re undeniably based on real life. Here are some of my favorite non-favorite female characters in literature and why we should give them a chance.

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TV So Good It Hurts: The Psychology of Watching Breaking Bad - Scientific American (blog)

TV So Good It Hurts: The Psychology of Watching Breaking Bad - Scientific American (blog) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Scientific American (blog)
TV So Good It Hurts: The Psychology of Watching Breaking Bad

Dr. Elizabeth L. Cohen is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at West Virginia University.

 

After a five season run, tonight marks the conclusion of the critically acclaimed Breaking Bad— one of the most tragic, stressful, gut-wrenching television experiences I have ever endured. Each excruciating, emotionally taxing episode made me feel like I was walking on shards of glass.

 

I know that many other people can feel my pain. Ratings for the show’s final season rank Breaking Bad as the most popular non-football program on Sunday nights with 6.4 million viewers. Why would so many of us voluntarily spend our leisure time, designed for escape, watching a show that can make us feel so emotionally exhausted?

 

This is not a new question for media psychologists who have been trying to understand why people subject themselves to entertainment that they know will elicit negative emotions.

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David Gilmour's No Colleague of Mine

David Gilmour's No Colleague of Mine | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

There are many good reasons to be upset about the things the novelist and broadcaster David Gilmour said in a recent interview on the Hazlitt Magazine blog. Both he and I work at the University of Toronto, so my instant reaction was institutional defensiveness: unlike Mr. Gilmour, who teaches the odd college course, I am a professor of English literature here, and it stung to see his bizarre, reactionary views on literature and teaching associated in the media with my institution, and in particular with its literary scholars..

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:
Holger Syme, Associate Professor of English at the University of Toronto, reacts to David Gilmour's interview. See related articles.
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BHK's curator insight, October 1, 2013 2:57 PM

"Far more troubling, to me, is his basic failure to grasp why anyone should read literature at all, his stunningly self-righteous elevation of narcissism into the most powerful source of aesthetic appreciation -- the infantile pleasure of self-recognition, and ultimately of self-affirmation as the highest, even the only end of reading."

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How Not to Apologize for Saying Something Sexist - New York Magazine

How Not to Apologize for Saying Something Sexist - New York Magazine | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
How Not to Apologize for Saying Something Sexist
New York Magazine

 

David Gilmour, the 63-year-old author of A Perfect Night to Go to China, teaches modern short fiction to third- and first-year students at the University of Toronto. David Gilmour is also a human. Thus we should not be surprised that David Gilmour said something regrettable.

Unfortunately for Gilmour, who happens to be up for the Giller Prize right now, the nature of his regrettable remark was to inadvertently reveal his sexism. And because Gilmour appears to in fact be sexist, his attempts to explain away the remarks only served to dig his own sexist-shaped grave.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Yet another response to David Gilmour. (See related articles.)

 

OK, I promise to stop now.

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'Salvation' brings Summer Reading Challenge to a close - Salisbury Post

'Salvation' brings Summer Reading Challenge to a close - Salisbury Post | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
'Salvation' brings Summer Reading Challenge to a close

Salisbury Post

 

The river in “Salvation” is symbolic, as was the river in “Once Upon a River,” another book in the Summer Reading Challenge. “I can’t tell you exactly what it symbolizes — that’s why I had to write the book. We write to capture concepts. We can use concepts to explain something we can’t say directly. The river is fundamental, for life, for time, for history, eternity. It’s dynamic, it moves all the time.” Junie and his new friend Henry can’t stop the river, and they can’t escape without it.”

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Dr. Kurt Corriher discussess his novel “Salvation: A Story of Survival."

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Michael Meyer, Master of Steinbeck Literary Criticism | Steinbeck Now

Michael Meyer, Master of Steinbeck Literary Criticism | Steinbeck Now | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

As a Baptist minister in England for 40 years, my attachment to Steinbeck came rather later in life. Over time, literature (particularly drama) became increasingly important in my ministry, to my writing and preaching on the Bible, and in my development of Bible study tools. Steinbeck finally clicked for me in the late 1990s when I read The Grapes of Wrath. My interest in the author ultimately led to writing literary criticism and forming friendships with American scholars. Among them was the late Michael Meyer, whose death in 2011 deeply saddened the international Steinbeck community.

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