Re: Individual reactions to various...
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Bonnie Callahan <bonolatm@p...> wrote:
> I wonder how much of our responses to literature are "guided" (notgoverned) by our inner chemistry? I've 9probably unfortunately) found
that my most intense responses to the literature I love (for all
time) SEEM to have taken place during the decades when my hormones
were at their most active.
> Has anyone else in the Myth Soc. had any thoughts on this? Ourbiochemistry having an effect on what we "bond to" as our life's most
>Biochemistry explains nothing, in my case. I had my most powerful,
most meaningful response to a piece of literature at age 35, to The
Lord of the Rings. Nothing, nothing I had read, seen, heard or
encountered in my life affected me as strongly; I was dysfunctional
for months in an agony of grief, anguish and incomprehension (not
understanding why it would affect me so). Furthermore, the older I
get (and now at 62 I am virtually free from my hormones, thank God),
the more profoundly I am affected by what I read, if it is good.
Nothing much of what I read in adolescence still resonates, or if it
does, it's because I have re-read it later with greater attentiveness.
What contributes to our responding to literature, I believe, is a
combination of biographical (personal, idiosyncratic) factors--where
we are as individuals with regard to our self-development
(neurochemical or hormonal disturbance could be said to be the
reflection, not the cause of this), and our capacity for,
attentiveness to, willingness to reach for meaning beyond the self
(universal human truth, beauty and goodness). (I say nothing here
about the artistry, vison, literary skill of the author of whatever
we're reading, i.e. what makes it "good".)
- Hello-- I would say that if you buy into the current theories of
mind/brain development, this would make an interesting study. I doubt
-- a whole lot-- that you would find any sort of causal relationship.
Or, if you did, it would be pretty trivial.
Personally, I think the "brain chemistry" approach to human choices is
overrated in the literature, and will shortly be countered with
evidence that's it's a "Chicken or the egg" question. The question of
mind, choice, taste and individual reactions to any art form,
including literature, is far too complex to be reduced to this
particular paradigm in research. (Or, the example of "falling in love"
that you begin with.)
Th epremise seems, at first reading, to be reductionistic with results
that are predictable, rather like the recent attempts to diagnose dead
romantic poets as "manic depressives" by the psychiatric community.
Sells books, but it remains an unproven load of (insert adjective)
because the researchers did not avail themselves of any of the *known*
facts concerning the goals and aims of the Romantic Movement. Not to
mention the initial idiocy of diagnosing a person who is (at least) a
century dead and buried.
Sorry if I offend, but I, too, am a human science researcher, and I
quite disagree with your basic premise from the get-go.
BTW: When my daughter was 17, Elijah Wood was on her "eeewwww ick"
list. Low point in the first film for both of us. Lezlie
--- In email@example.com, Bonnie Callahan <bonolatm@p...> wrote:
> Hi everyone;
> I've been exploring the roots of some interesting
> Why do people fall in love with those they do? Why do separated
twins develop similar tastes
> after decades apart? Why do we develop our tastes & aversions about
literature, shoes, vehicles,....?
> I wonder how much of our responses to literature are "guided" (not
governed) by our inner
> chemistry? I've 9probably unfortunately) found that my most intense
responses to the literature I love (for all time) SEEM to have taken
place during the decades when my hormones were at their most active.
> Has anyone else in the Myth Soc. had any thoughts on this? Our
biochemistry having an effect on what we "bond to" as our life's most
meaningful experiences? I put forth none of this as any sort of dogma.
I'm truly curious at this time as to the nature of criticism,
evaluating what is most powerful to any given indivudual.
> If I were 17 right now, I'd be head over heels with images of Harry
P., Elijah Wood, you name it.
> Would that be considered "clouded literary judgment"? I think so!
> The world-building Tolkien instinctively engaged in is a unique
> I can't vouch for Rowling. I've been curious about her academic
background, whether it indicates
> a sophistication that would support her world-building. Just today,
Tim & I (& a guest) discussed Shakespeare; What in Will's background
would indicate his level of expertise as pertinent to his writing.
> It's still a mystery!
> Any thoughts?
> I'll see some of you in Birmingham after all. Let's talk.
> PS: I hope to have a CD of Mythopoeic history pix to share. I'll be
coming w. Charles Coulombe.
> (for those of you who know him, rejoice.)