Psychology through Literature, an Anthology

Psychology through Literature, an Anthology

Psychology through Literature, an Anthology

Psychology through Literature, an Anthology

Excerpt

The purpose of this anthology is to lead the student of human motivation and behavior to a better understanding of himself and his world through the vicarious experience that literature affords. It is designed primarily to enrich an introductory course in psychology or mental hygiene, fields in which too often the young person, bewildered by formal classifications and strange terminology, fails to recognize the relation between academic discussions and the forces that condition the growth of his own personality. It may also be found useful as a book of readings for a course in creative writing in which stress may be placed on the understanding and sharing of human experience rather than upon techniques of writing and literary form.

An undergraduate's personal experience is extremely limited. He is a product of his conditioning: his physical constitution, the health of his parents, the degree of their compatibility, the extent to which they accept and understand him, their economic and social status, the mores of the neighbors -- in short, biological, psychological, and sociological factors have all contributed to the shaping of his personality. But these need not be limiting forces. The subtle process of identification which literature affords will permit him sympathetically to enter the lives of others and become immeasurably enriched through his analysis of their motives and drives, hopes and fears, loves and hates. He will thus come better to understand the elements of his own personality and the conflicting forces that impel men as individuals and as members of society.

Implicit in literature are all of the facts of psychology. The facts constitute the center of the experience which is literature. But the facts alone are not truth. They become true to the scientist as his imagination plays upon them and weaves them together into a consistent and organic whole. They become true to the poet or the dramatist when his imagination has ordered them into a living organism. But the layman cannot readily enter into the imagination of the scientist, for the scientist separates human knowledge, and only those who share his technical equipment can see the whole. All persons are privileged, however, to enter into the imaginative experience of the artist, for art relates all knowledge to human experience. Art, like poetry, 'attaches emotion to the idea; the idea is the fact!' All those who possess the capacity of the artist, not as . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.