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Academia in Fact and Fiction

Edited By Ludmiła Gruszewska-Blaim and Merritt Moseley

«Academia in Fact and Fiction» comprises twenty-eight essays on the relationship(s) between the university and the practice of belles lettres. The collection includes studies of the teaching of fiction by university professors; the fit – or misfit – between the creative writer and the academy; the depiction of the university, its staff and atmosphere, in literature, cinema and new media; and the varieties of academic fiction ranging from the ludic and satirical to the tragic. Most of the works addressed in the volume are British or American, modern or contemporary, but the historical range extends to Victorian and Shakespearian works, and the geographical range includes novels and poems from Russia, New Zealand, and Nigeria. Among the genres discussed are, in addition to the «literary novel», plays, detective fiction, fanfiction, utopias, mysteries and alternative history. The contributors are international and cosmopolitan.

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The Multiple Identities of Norman N. Holland in Postmodern Mystery and Academia (Elżbieta Perkowska-Gawlik (Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin))


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Elżbieta Perkowska-Gawlik

The Multiple Identities of Norman N. Holland in Postmodern Mystery and Academia

Synopsis: Norman N. Holland, a distinguished academic who introduced the “Delphi Seminar” as a concept into reader response theory, is the author as well as the mediator/narrator and the protagonist of Death in a Delphi Seminar: A Postmodern Mystery, which makes for a blurring of his identities on various levels. In a similar way this text blends the academic mystery and the dissemination of the scholar’s/author’s/ narrator’s/protagonist’s approach with the theory and teaching of reading. Geared towards a pronounced self-fashioning, the multiplicity of Holland’s guises were to secure him a prominent place in the realm of literary theory and criticism. While Holland has failed to enter the pantheon of literary theorists, he has, without doubt, left an indelible mark on readers and critics, particularly through the methodical repetition of his name and the detailed representation of his teaching method in his academic mystery Death in a Delphi Seminar.

Not long after Roland Barthes’s revolutionary announcement that “the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author” (148), Norman N. Holland and Murray M. Schwartz conceived a new pedagogical method, eventually called “Delphi Seminars,” which was meant to encourage students’ ‘unrestricted’ responses to literary texts. In their study entitled Know Thyself: Delphi Seminars Holland and Schwartz claim that “[their] method … removed the negative from the literary response, [since] there could...

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