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Reading a poem or a novel, seeing a play or a film, is a special kind of experience. Yet the essential nature of that experience has remained a mystery. Philosophers have discussed the writer s role, and critics the writer s craft, but there has been little disciplined inquiry into the relation of literature to people s minds the way in which people re-create within themselves the literary experience. Norman Holland approaches the problem armed with a thorough understanding of psychoanalytic concepts, and develops a comprehensive theory of the psychology of literature that deals with poetry, theater, and film, as well as with fiction, myth, pornography, and humor."

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780393007909
ISBN-10: 0393007901
Format: Paperback
(230mm x 150mm x 23mm)
Imprint: WW Norton & Co
Publisher: WW Norton & Co
Publish Date: 1-Dec-1980
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » Anal, oral, phallic, masochism, primal scene. . . "I would say that the single most common fantasy-structure in literature is phallic assertiveness balanced against oral engulfment." "The final image of On the Road: urinating off the back of a speeding truck" is a fine example of "the urethral in literature." And so it goes, another disciple of Papa Freud lighting the dark recesses of the creative mind, though Freud himself said that in that area the psychoanalyst should lay down his arms. Professor Holland's articulate (oral), somewhat unyielding (anal), but generally potent (phallic) study of the masked appeal of literary forms and the psychic responses they draw from the reader is of course similar to countless other works, especially Professor Lesser's Fiction and the Unconscious. But it is decidedly more ambitious, streamlined, au courant (films, plays, novels, poems), with some first rate set pieces (the matriarchal attraction-repulsion rhythms in Fellini, "the dualism of controller and controlled" in Conrad). In a number of places Holland's aesthetic sense and clinical terminology do not always jibe (a condition known as the schizophrenic hazards of psychological literary criticism in general). Nevertheless, the scope, the demonstration of interlocking components within the consciousness of the artist and that of his audience, is remarkably varied, disciplined, and astute. (Kirkus Reviews)


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