Author, scholar Norman Holland to speak

Norman HollandAcclaimed author and scholar Norman Holland will address cognitive science, psychology and literature when he speaks at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, in Waterman Theatre.

His talk is admission-free, open to the public and part of SUNY Oswego’s Arts and Psychology Series.

Holland is perhaps most famous for his 1968 publication “The Dynamics of Literary Response,” in which he proposed a model for the interaction between literature and the human mind. The book resulted from extensive research into the works of Sigmund Freud and Heinz Lichenstein.

“All my life, I’ve been fascinated by the way people relate to literature and the arts,” Holland explained on his Web site. “As a result, I teach and write about psychoanalytic psychology, cognitive science and what they tell us about the responses of readers to literary texts, movies and occasionally the other arts.”

Currently the Marston-Milbauer Eminent Scholar in English at the University of Florida, Holland teaches classes that include an honors seminar, “The Book and the Brain,” that explores links between literature and cognitive science. He also moderates the interdisciplinary online discussion group PsyArt and edits the online journal “PsyArt: A Hyperlink Journal for the Psychology of the Arts.”

Holland has lectured all over the world and earned both Guggenheim and American Council of Learned Societies fellowships. In addition, he has penned 13 books and a multitude of journal articles.

While “The Dynamics of Literary Response” established him as an expert in his areas of study, he refers to “The I,” published in 1985, as “my magnum opus . . . an ambitious book that develops a model of human nature itself.” The book attempts to reinterpret psychoanalytic theory with a clearer emphasis on identity.

In 2000, Holland published a revised edition of his influential “Poems in Persons,” which centers around a new model of the literary process based on a psychoanalytic theory of identity.

“Writers re-created their personal identities in the works they write,” Holland noted. “In turn, readers recreate their identities as they take in the literary work. Readers edit the work into their own version of the transformational process.”

Holland’s lecture is a highlight of the college’s Arts and Psychology series, an interdisciplinary exploration of creativity and perception that brings a number of guest lecturers and events to the SUNY Oswego campus. The series seeks to address the common theme of artistic expression and its relationship with the human brain.

For more information on Norman Holland’s work, visit his Web site at

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(Posted: Mar 15, 2006)