Literature & Psychology

bookshelves: Literature and Psychology

Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey

  Have you noticed how similar are the stories of Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins, and Harry Potter? All three of these ordinary fellows set out on a long journey, fraught with danger, to undertake a task with a little help from their friends. When Joseph Campbell examined the mythologies of the world’s major civilizations, he …

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bookshelves: Literature and Psychology

Introducing Literature & Psychology

  Literature & Psychology is a collection of interdisciplinary news items that I aggregate daily (well, almost daily) through ScoopIt. Literature & Psychology is also a new category of blog post here. Of course, there’s a story behind it. About 35 years ago I completed the coursework, though not the dissertation, for a doctorate in …

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book review

“The Storytelling Animal” by Jonathan Gottschall

Gottschall, Jonathan. The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012ISBN 978-0-547-39140-3 Recommended “We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories,” declares Jonathan Gottschall in the preface to his recent book The Storytelling Animal. Gottschall, a member …

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“The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox” by Maggie O’Farrell

O’Farrell, Maggie. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox    New York: Harcourt, 2006  ISBN 978-0-15-101411-8   Blackstone Audiobooks, narrated by Anne Flosnik Recommended This novel is about family stories–in this case, the truths that don’t get told and the lies that spring up to fill the void–and how those stories reverberate through generations. Iris Lockhart …

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“The Knitting Circle” by Ann Hood

Hood, Ann. The Knitting Circle New York: Norton, 2007 ISBN 0-393-05901-4 Blackstone Audiobooks, narrated by Hillary Huber Highly recommended This novel is all about perspective, and about the healing power of telling our stories. When Mary Baxter’s five-year-old daughter dies suddenly of meningitis, Mary finds herself unable to read, write, go to work, or do …

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book review

“The Reader, the Text, the Poem” by Louise M. Rosenblatt

Rosenblatt, Louise M. The Reader, the Text, the Poem: The Transactional Theory of the Literary Work  Carbondale, Ill., 1978Hardcover, 196 pagesISBN 0-8093-0883-5 Highly Recommended Rosenblatt is one of the proponents of the reader-response theory of literary criticism, a concept that emerged in the U.S. in the 1960s and 1970s as a reaction to New Criticism, which treated …

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“Writing a Woman’s Life” by Carolyn G. Heilbrun

Heilbrun, Carolyn G. Writing a Woman’s Life (1988)  W.W. Norton & Company, 144 pages, $14.95 hardcover  ISBN 0-393-02601-9 In the “Introduction,” feminist scholar Carolyn Heilbrun explains the topic of her book: There are four ways to write a woman’s life: the woman herself may tell it, in what she chooses to call an autobiography; she …

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