Bookbeat: November 2005

Norman Holland y la articulation literatura/psicoanalisisNorman Holland y la articulatión literatura/psicoanálisis

Diana Paris,
(Madrid: Campo de Ideas, 2004)

The man who writes books on how readers respond to literature has now had a reader write a book on his work. For Norman Holland, UF’s Marston-Milbauer Eminent Scholar of English and author of 14 books, it came as a surprise. “I was looking on Amazon to see which of my books were available, and lo and behold there was a book about me, written in Spanish.”

The author, Diana Paris, was a student at the University of Morón in Buenos Aires, studying literary criticism and psychoanalysis, when she first encountered some of Holland’s essays. She says learning of Holland’s work was like finding a twin soul. “It wasn’t long before I was interested in all of Holland’s work,” she says. “I felt it was necessary to communicate all of his investigations on psychoanalysis and reading into a book.”

Paris, who writes about psychoanalysis and its relation to art and literature, sent an E-mail to Holland when she began her book project. He answered her query, but involved in many projects, soon forgot about it. Still, even without his participation, the book, says Holland, is a neat summary of his work.

Holland always has been fascinated by the way individuals respond differently to jokes, books, movies and art. Of the many theories he examined early in his career, only one made sense to him. “Freud went back to the actual words, and that was compelling to me as literary critic.” He has since used psychoanalytic theory to study responses to literature.

Holland came to the University of Florida in 1983 and in recent years has immersed himself in neuroscience, even taking two courses in the subject in the College of Medicine. He is now using the tools of brain science to study how people respond to literature.

He recently completed The Brain and the Book, which he is currently pitching to publishers, while another book, Meeting Movies, will appear in 2006. The Brain and the Book examines how the human brain responds when creating or responding to literature. Literary ideas such as form and content are given a neurological basis, as are answers to questions such as why we enjoy literature. “I hope both literary critics and neuroscientists will read it,” he says. “I think science tells us objective things about ourselves—about our neurons or dopamine circuits—and I think psychoanalysis addresses our subjective experience. I see the combination as a very powerful way of thinking about human beings and how we look at literature.”

—Michal Meyer

Immigrant Faiths: Transforming Religious Life in America Immigrant Faiths: Transforming Religious Life in America

Manuel A. Vásquez, Department of Religion, Karen I. Leonard, Alex Stepick and Jennifer Holdaway
(AltaMira Press, 2005)
Available through Amazon

Recent immigrants are creating their own unique religious communities within existing denominations or developing hybrid identities that combine strands of several faiths or traditions. These changes call for new thinking among both scholars of religion and scholars of migration. This book responds to these changes with fresh thinking from new and established scholars from a wide range of disciplines. Covering groups from across the US and a range of religious traditions, Immigrant Faiths provides a needed overview to this expanding subfield.


Paradise Lost? The Environmental History of FloridaParadise Lost? The Environmental History of Florida

edited by Jack E. Davis, Department of History, and Raymond Arsenault
(University Press of Florida, 2005)
Available through the University of Florida Press

This collection of essays surveys the environmental history of Florida, from Spanish exploration to the present, providing an organized, detailed overview of the relationship between humans and Florida’s unique ecology. It is divided into four thematic sections: explorers and naturalists; science, technology, and public policy; despoliation; and conservationists and environmentalists. Drawing on methodologies from the fields of history, political science, cultural anthropology and sociology, the contributors describe the evolving environmental policies and practices of the state and federal governments and the interaction between the Florida environment and many social and cultural groups including the Spanish, English, Americans, Southerners, Northerners, men, and women.


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