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"The Psychology and Sociology of Literature" is a collection of 25 chapters on literature by some of the leading psychologists, sociologists, and literary scholars in the field of the empirical study of literature. Contributors include Ziva Ben-Porat, Gerry Cupchik, Art Graesser, Rachel Giora, Norbert Groeben, Colin Martindale, David Miall, Willie van Peer, Kees van Rees, Siegfried Schmidt, Hugo Verdaasdonk, and Rolf Zwaan. Topics include literature and the reading process; the role of poetic language, metaphor, and irony; cathartic and Freudian effects; literature and creativity; the career of the literary author; literature and culture; literature and multicultural society, literature and the mass media; literature and the internet; and literature and history. An introduction by the editors situates the empirical study of literature within an academic context.The chapters are all invited and refereed contributions, collected to honor the scholarship and retirement of professor Elrud Ibsch, of the Free University of Amsterdam. Together they represent the state of the art in the empirical study of literature, a movement in literary studies which aims to produce reliable and valid scientific knowledge about literature as a means of verbal communication in its cultural context. Elrud Ibsch was one of the pioneers in Europe to promote this approach to literature some 25 years ago, and this volume takes stock of what has happened since."The Psychology and Sociology of Literature" presents an invaluable overview of the results, promises, gaps, and needs of the empirical study of literature. It addresses social scientists as well as scholars in the humanities who are interested in literature as discourse.
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||Dick H. Schram