Norman Holland's articles online

    I've put a few of my recent and even some of my ancient essays online to enlighten and delight readers. Here's a list of titles. Clicking on a title will take you to the abstract of that essay.

Psychoanalysis as Science (published version - 2004)
The Willing Suspension of Disbelief:A Neuro-Psychoanalytic View (2003)
"The barge she sat in": Psychoanalysis and the Surface of Language (2001)
The Neurosciences and the Arts (2001)
Creativity and the Stock Market (2000)
The Mind and the Book: A Long Look at Psychoanalytic Literary Criticism (2000)
The Story of a Psychoanalytic Critic (1999)
Books, Brains, and Bodies (1999)
Freud and the Poet's Eye:   His Ambivalence Toward the Artist (1998)
The Internet Regression(1996)
Eliza Meets the Postmodern(1994)
The Trouble(s) with Lacan (1991)
The L-Shaped Mind of Ronald Reagan (1984, 1987, 1988)
Reading and Identity (1979)
Literary Suicide: A Question of Style (orig. 1977).
Defence, Displacement and the Ego's Algebra (orig. 1973)
Caliban's Dream (orig. 1966).
Henry IV, Part Two: Expectation Betrayed (orig. 1965)
Hamlet--My Greatest Creation (orig. 1975)

Once you're at the abstract, clicking on the reader icon or on the title will take you to the essay itself, which you can then read online or download. Like the little reader in the icon, I think it's better to read lengthy texts on paper. A computer is not as good a read as a book.

Abstracts and Links


Norman N. Holland
Department of English, University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville FL 32611-7310 U.S.A.

email: nholland@ufl.edu

Eliza Meets the Postmodern

Hypertext and multimedia create documents with which you can jump here and there within one or several texts. People often say, therefore, that hypertext acts out postmodern theory. Hypertext creates a "decentered" text, associatively rather than logically linked. I think "postmodern," however, is artists' and critics' using, as their medium, the audience's knowledge and expectations about their works. But hypertext authors set the links to other texts. They leave less, not more, space for our links, knowledge, and expectations. More postmodern are the ELIZA-type programs, in which the text seems to answer back like another person. These allow for an infinitely variable input from the audience, not a finite set of choices among links. The early ELIZA program and its more recent, more complex successors take literature and reading and responding into wholly new dimensions.

Keywords: postmodern; ELIZA; hypertext.
URL: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/nnh/eliza.htm
Citation: Norman N. Holland, "Eliza Meets the Postmodern." EJournal 4.1 (1994): lines 49-560. (Electronic journal available from LISTSERV@ALBANY.BITNET: GET EJRNL V4N1.) k Discussion of "Eliza Meets the Postmodern." EJournal 4.1: lines 49-727. (Electronic journal available from LISTSERV@ALBANY.BITNET: GET EJRNL V4N3.)
© Copyright 1994: Norman N. Holland.


Norman N. Holland
Department of English, University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville FL 32611-7310 U.S.A.

email: nholland@ufl.edu

Seeing Huston's Freud

John Huston's 1962 film, Freud, provided a lot of interesting gossip in its making and reception. Looked at today, it yields a sympathetic, fairly accurate account of Freud's early discoveries and a unique "take" on psychoanalysis. Metaphorically, the film shows a man venturing into a dark, dangerous place: the unconscious. Intellectually, the film shows Freud developing his ideas of free association, dreams, the oedipus complex, etc., from his analysis of Cecily (a prototype patient) and his self-analysis. Both analyses reveal, over and over again, one person or thing substituting for or displacing another. Especially, body movement substitutes for mind's discovery. Huston himself was a roistering "as if" personality and therefore portrayed psychoanalysis in "as if" terms. That is, in Huston's vision, psychoanalysis is the discovery and thereby the undoing of displacements to find the original object.

Keywords: Freud, Sigmund (biography); Huston, John; Sartre, Jean-Paul; Clift, Montgomery; identity; "as if" personality; film; displacement.
URL: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/nnh/huston.htm
Citations: Norman N. Holland. "How to See Huston's Freud." Perspectives on John Huston. Ed. Stephen Cooper. Perspectives on Film Series. New York: G. K. Hall, 1994. 164-83.
Norman N. Holland. "John Huston's Freud." Literature and Psychology: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference in Literature and Psychology, Amsterdam, June 24-28, 1993. Ed. Frederico Pereira. Lisbon: ISPA.
© Copyright 1994: Norman N. Holland.


Norman N. Holland
Department of English, University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville FL 32611-7310 U.S.A.

email: nholland@ufl.edu

8 1/2 and Me

A conference led me to reconsider 8 1/2 thirty-two years after reviewing it. In the review, I objected to this autobiographical film, demanding instead a universal theme to legitimate Fellini's fantasies about male-female relations. Now, this reader-response critic free associates to the film. I see it as as Fellini's attempts to match intellectuality of Bergman's films, to come to terms with such phallic strivings, and to accept his neurotic "Southern" self. Underneath these different readings, however, I see the film essentially the same way, as contrasting maleness and femaleness, but the values I apply to that perception are completely changed. In the early review, malely, I wanted universal meanings. Now I want to articulate my own response and simply accept the film (including my inability to give up my male strivings, my inability to accept myself). I now like the film and respond like Fellini. Conclusion: our perceptual style does not change over the years--that is deep down--but our values do.


Keywords: Fellini, Federico; identity; film; reader-response; aging.
URL: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/nnh/8andhalf.htm
Citation: Norman N. Holland. "8 1/2 and Me: The Thirty-Two Year Difference." Journal of Aging and Identity 1.2 (1996): 125-41.
Norman N. Holland. "8 1/2 and Me." Literature and Psychoanalysis: Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Literature and Psychoanalysis, Freiburg (Germany), 22-26 June 21-24, 1995. Ed. Frederico Pereira. Lisbon: ISPA, 1996. 173-84.
© Copyright 1996: Norman N. Holland.


Norman N. Holland
Department of English, University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville FL 32611-7310 U.S.A.

email: nholland@ufl.edu

The Internet Regression

    Internet communication leads to a special regression, evidenced by uninhibited anger, sex, and generosity.
    Computers evoke regressive fantasies: I command immense power, speed, and size (especially for males); I fear damage; I could become dependent or addicted, lost in seas of information. The computer does your bidding, does not criticize or judge you, and waits patiently until you "get it." Such an ideal helpmate lends itself to sexual fantasies of a totally obedient partner.
    Using a quasi-intelligent machine for communication further blurs the boundaries between person and machine. Typed instead of face to face talk confuses the senses: what is seen is "heard." Status and manners disappear. Communication is start-stop (as with the confessional or the analytic couch).
    In our minds, person and machine merge. We feel ambivalent toward the helpful but stupid computer. That transfers to the person we are "talking" to. We attack as though the person were insensitive, a machine that couldn't be hurt. We demand sex as though the person were a compliant machine. We feel open and giving toward the person because the computer is open and giving to us.

Keywords: regression; computers; Internet; flirting; flaming; fantasies; machines.
URL: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/nnh/inetregr.htm
Citation: Norman N. Holland. "The Internet Regression." Psychoanalytic Studies (an e-journal). Psychoanalytic-Studies@sheffield.ac.uk.
© Copyright 1996: Norman N. Holland.


Norman N. Holland
Department of English, University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville FL 32611-7310 U.S.A.

email: nholland@ufl.edu

Hitchcock's Vertigo:
One Viewer's Viewing

Read in terms of Freud's "Uncanny" (as I did in 1958), this film regresses us to a belief that we are (or the heroine is) being possessed by the dead. Or to an enacting of the repetition compulsion: images of two-ness, spirals, the repetitive structure, the return to death, to an idealized woman (mother, triple goddess). An object-relations reading of the film would suggest that the heroine introjects and identifies with a lost object. Read in terms of Hitchcock's personality, the film suggests a Pygmalion fantasy, that the ideal woman is secretly the sexual woman, and the sexual woman can be turned into an ideal by the artist-Hitchock.
Looked at more personally, through my own reader-response, the film indulges this man's wish to ogle a beautiful woman. It deals with the wish by denying its impossibility or any guilt for the hero's (or spectator's) wishes to see, to possess, to create an ideally beautiful goddess-woman-mother. Such denials, for me, connote death and the failure of relationships, but in this film denial triumphs. The film grants me power, freedom, a denial of death itself, a denial of the failure of denials, for which I pay the heroine's final crash.

Keywords: Freud, Sigmund, 1919h; object-relations; film; Hitchcock, Alfred; reader-response; object-relations; themes; repetition compulsion; denial.
URL: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/nnh/vertigo.htm
Citation: None
© Copyright 1996, Norman N. Holland.


Norman N. Holland
Department of English, University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville FL 32611-7310 U.S.A.

email: nholland@ufl.edu

"The barge she sat in":
Psychoanalysis and Syntactic Choices

"The style is the man" is an idea confirmed by modern linguistics and psychoanalysis. Analysts who have developed the idea are Ella Freeman Sharpe, Ernest Jones, Jacques Lacan, Maria Lorenz, D. V. Forrest, J. Schimel, H. Dahl, G. Makari and T. Shapiro, S. L. Olinick. All, but Sharpe and Lorenz most of all, show how patients' choice of words, grammatical patterns, and figures of speech express their personality.
One can use this technique in literary analysis, as N. N. Holland and R. Ohmann have done for Arnold, Carlyle, Newman, and Mill. For example, one can show how Falstaff's use of enthymemes resembles a patient of Lorenz's.
An analysis of Shakespeare's choices when he converted the prose of North's description of Cleopatra's barge in North's Plutarch also shows Shakespeare's personality. He animated and sexualized the inanimate. He feminized his Roman speaker, identifying imaginative power with femininity. The passage may also show his primal scene imaginings in a "Whiter" cluster of metalworking imagery. Although neglected in recent psychoanalytic thought, syntactic choices nevertheless allow powerful insights into personality for both psychoanalyst and literary critic.

Keywords: Sharpe, Ella Freeman; Lorenz, Maria; Ohmann, Richard; Whiter, Walter; primal scene; Shakespeare, 1H4; Shakespeare, Ant.
URL: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/nnh/barge.htm
Citation: none.
© Copyright 1997: Norman N. Holland.


Norman N. Holland
Department of English, University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville FL 32611-7310 U.S.A.

email: nholland@ufl.edu

Books, Brains, and Bodies

I believe that all statements in literary theory make some assumption about human nature, and, for that reason, the discoveries of brain and cognitive science should count in literary theory. We can point to six specific discoveries that are potentially relevant: 1) Chomsky's proofs that one needs deep structures to model language; 2) the cognitive scientists' showing that we actively compute and construct our world into the form it has for us; 3) the brain as a series of possibly innate modules put into action by a personal identity with an individual style; 4) the PET and MRI scans that show us processing language by drawing on different parts of the brain and on our unique personal history with a given word; 5) the new science of metaphor and the idea that we reason from bodily experiences toward abstract knowledge; 6) the growing and ungrowing of the brain, so that our personal histories are inscribed in our synapses. In turn, these six theses touch on literary theory in six ways: 1) the ideas of signifier-signified and signifying as a psychological process fail; 2) culture does not impose itself on a passive, plastic person--rather, people are active; 3) what culture provides are the hypotheses by which we use feedback to understand the world; 4) the subject is far from dead; 5) one cannot draw a sharp line between "objective" and "subjective"; 6) literary theory may be using philosophy to "prove" things about the real world, and that is properly the province of science.

Keywords: Saussure, Ferdinand de; Chomsky, Noam; Lakoff, George; Edelman, Gerard; Damasio, Hanna; Damasio, Antonio; brain science; cognitive science; literary theory
URL: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/nnh/bksbrns.htm
Citation: this is a talk I gave at the State University of New York at New Paltz, April 15, 1998 and at Bogaziçi University (Istanbul) on May 28, 1998.
© Copyright 1998: Norman N. Holland, all rights reserved.


Norman N. Holland
Department of English, University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville FL 32611-7310 U.S.A.

email: nholland@ufl.edu

Reading and Identity

I wrote this brief essay to state, and perhaps over-state, in a brief summary "identity theory" as we developed and used it at the Center for Psychological Study of the Arts, State University of New York at Buffalo. The ideas here set out are developed at much greater length, much, much greater length, in The I, also available on line.]

Keywords: feedback; identity; literary theory
URL: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/nnh/rdgident.htm
Citation: Adapted from Academy Forum (American Academy of Psychoanalysis) 23.2 (1979): 7-9.
© Copyright 1998: Norman N. Holland, all rights reserved.


Norman N. Holland
Department of English, University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville FL 32611-7310 U.S.A.

email: nholland@ufl.edu

The Trouble(s) with Lacan

There are three major troubles with Lacan: his linguistics, his psycholinguistics, and his idea of child development. His structural linguistics, based on Saussure's idea of signifiers signifying signifieds, is outmoded and wrong. Chomsky disproved it in 1957. His idea of how signifiers and signifieds work in our minds does not fit what psychologists tell us about the way we use and understand language. His description of a mirror stage in child development does not correspond to what observational and experimental studies of children tell us about the way they behave in front of mirrors.

Keywords: Lacan; Saussure; Chomsky; signifier; signified; signifying; psychology of reading; mirror stage
URL: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/nnh/lacan.htm
Citation: Adapted from "The Trouble(s) with Lacan." Literature and Psychology: Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Literature and Psychology, Urbino, July 6-9, 1990. Lisbon: Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, 1991. 3-10.
© Copyright 1998: Norman N. Holland, all rights reserved.


Norman N. Holland
Department of English, University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville FL 32611-7310 U.S.A.

email: nholland@ufl.edu

The Seventh Seal: Two Responses

Bergman's "medieval" film tells the story of a world-weary Crusader returning to his castle and his effort to achieve one significant act in a world of plague and hatred and guilt--and love. The film follows the Crusader on his journey and through a chess game he plays with Death: he can live until he loses. I read Bergman's film as a religious allegory, closely based on the chess game. The film explores a variety of attitudes toward the Christian religion: a longing to believe, disbelief, guilt, a hatred of life and a celebration of life. Once I found this film overpowering; now it seems diminished to me. As a reader-response critic, when it first appeared and now, I brought my life's experience with religion to this film. I responded differently depending on where I was in my religious evolution.

Keywords: Bergman; Christianity; reader-response; chess; Swedish
URL: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/nnh/7thseal.htm
Citation: Radically revised from The Seventh Seal: The Film as Iconography." Hudson Review 12 (1959): 266-270. Reprinted in Renaissance of the Film. Ed. Julius Bellone. New York: Collier, 1970. 232-240.
© Copyright 1998: Norman N. Holland, all rights reserved.


Norman N. Holland
Department of English, University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville FL 32611-7310 U.S.A.

email: nholland@ufl.edu

The Mind and the Book: A Long Look at Psychoanalytic Criticism

    This immense field can be summarized by recognizing that the psychoanalytic critic must address one or more of three minds, the author's, the reader's, or a mind derived from the text. The critic can then address them any theoretical point of view.
    The future of psychoanalytic criticism, and indeed of psychoanalysis, lies in integrating the discoveries of brain and cognitive science with those of psychoanalysis.
    In the present, psychoanalytic critics need to recognize that their function is to delight and enlighten. Hence, no more pathography, no more id-analysis, no more symbol-mongering, no more jargon. Only that way, will psychoanalytic critics keep open psychoanalysis' royal road into the human possibilities offered by great literature.

Keywords: psychoanalytic criticism; brain science; cognitive science; Horace
URL: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/nnh/mindbook.htm
Citation: Paper given at the Freud at the Millennium Conference held in connection with the opening of the Freud: Culture and Conflict exhibit at the Library of Congress. Georgetown University, Washington D. C., October 15-16. Accepted for publication Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, published by Human Sciences Press.
© Copyright 1998: Norman N. Holland, all rights reserved.


Norman N. Holland
Department of English, University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville FL 32611-7310 U.S.A.

email: nholland@ufl.edu

My Shakespeare in Love

Why did I like John Madden's film so much? Shakespeare in Love follows a Shakespearean pattern of love (and sex) breaking through barriers, but the film adds a parallel: Shakespeare has writer's block. Parallel to both is this viewer's delight in the film, which turns out to be based on his own experience of blocked writing. As his associations reveal, the film enables him to approve his own inhibitions about creative writing--and sex. His response shows how a spectator uses comedy to build up or restore defenses (here, repression or denial). The essay demonstrates reader-response criticism. By associations leading to this kind of self-discovery, reader-response critics open the possibility for their readers of "trying out" the critic's response in order to find parallels in their own experience of the work.

Keywords: Shakespeare; writer's block; inhibition; repression; denial; reader-response; criticism; comedy
URL: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/nnh/wsinlove.htm
Citation: To appear in Literature and Psychology: Proceedings of the Sixteenth International Conference on Literature and Psychology, Urbino, July 8-12, 1999. Lisbon: Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada.
© Copyright 1999: Norman N. Holland, all rights reserved.


Norman N. Holland
Department of English, University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville FL 32611-7310 U.S.A.

email: nholland@ufl.edu

The Story of a Psychoanalytic Critic

This is an autobiographical essay in which I tell how and why I evolved from a New Critic to a psychoanalytic critic to a reader-response critic to someone now interested in the new fields of cognitive and brain science.

Keywords: Holland, N.; New Criticism; psychoanalytic criticism; brain science; reader-response criticism; neuroscience; cognitive science; psychoanalytic training
URL: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/nnh/autobiol.htm
Citation: "TheStory of a Psychoanalytic Critic." American Imago 56.3 (1999): 245-59.
© Copyright 1999: Johns Hopkins Press.


Norman N. Holland
Department of English, University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville FL 32611-7310 U.S.A.

email: nholland@ufl.edu

Caliban's Dream

This is an essay from over thirty years ago, one of my first excursions into psychoanalytic criticism. In testing Freud's claim that invented dreams could be analyzed like real ones, I analyzed one of the dreams in Shakespeare, Caliban's dream in The Tempest. I saw in it fantasies at oral, anal, phallic, and oedipal levels, illustrating what I take to be basic psychoanalytic principles of hierarchical construction in the making of dreams or literary creations. Underlying Caliban's dream is the wish for a benevolent father to help him overcome Prospero. His dream provides the infantile match to Prospero's mature submission to Providence and dying.

Keywords: Shakespeare; The Tempest; dreams; oral; anal; phallic; oedipal; father; rape
URL: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/nnh/calibans.htm
Citation: Holland, Norman N. "Caliban's Dream," Psychoanalytic Quarterly 37 (1968):114-125.


Norman N. Holland
Department of English, University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville FL 32611-7310 U.S.A.

email: nholland@ufl.edu

Defence, Displacement and the Ego's Algebra

Psychoanalyts have found dozens of defence mechanisms, but have had difficulty classifying them. They can be classified by regarding the different defences as four kinds of displacement. One can think of regression and procrastination as displacements in time, projection and the internalizations as displacements in direction, splitting as a displacement in number, sublimation or symbolization as displacements based on similarity. This classification leads to priorities: which displacement must come first. At a clinical level, these four kinds of displacement suggest a discovering procedure for analyzing ego ego transactions. out into

Keywords: Shakespeare; The Tempest; dreams; oral; anal; phallic; oedipal; father; rape
URL: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/nnh/defence.htm
Citation: Holland, Norman N. "Defence, Displacement and the Ego's Algebra," Psychoanalytic Quarterly 37 (1968):114-125.


Norman N. Holland
Department of English, University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville FL 32611-7310 U.S.A.

email: nholland@ufl.edu

Literary Suicide: A Question of Style

This is an essay from 1977, when a group of us at the Center for Psychological Study of the Arts (SUNY/Buffalo) embarked on a collective study of literary suicides. I argue, in this summarizing essay, that literary suicides commit suicide in a method that expresses their identity themes. Hence, the style of suicide (or self-destructive behavior) will be consistent with the style of writing. I discuss Seneca, Poe, Fitzgerald, Mishima, Crane, Hemingway, and Plath.

Keywords: suicide; style; identity; Seneca; Poe; Fitzgerald; Mishima; Crane; Hemingway; Plath
URL: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/nnh/suicide.htm
Citation: Holland, Norman N. "Literary Suicide: A Question of Style," Psychocultural Review 1 (1977): 285-303.


Norman N. Holland
Department of English, University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville FL 32611-7310 U.S.A.

email: nholland@ufl.edu

Henry IV, Part Two: Expectation Betrayed

This is the introduction to my edition of 2 Henry IV for the Signet Shakespeare. I argue for expectation as a central theme of the play, expectation mocked or betrayed (Prince John and the rebels; Hal and Falstaff). At a psychological level, expectation leads to fantasies about appetite, hunger, words and talk, passivity, merging into a larger order, and basic trust (Erikson), expectations of food or justice.

Keywords: expectation; trust; appetite; words; passivity; 2 Henry IV; Shakespeare; Erikson; Falstaff
URL: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/nnh/2h4.htm
Citation: Holland, Norman N. "Introduction." Henry IV, Part Two. Ed. Norman N. Holland. The Signet Classic Shakespeare. New York: New American Library. xxiii-xliii.


Norman N. Holland
Department of English, University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville FL 32611-7310 U.S.A.

email: nholland@ufl.edu

Hamlet--My Greatest Creation

How a reader--this reader--creates a Hamlet in his mind.

Keywords: reader-response
URL: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/nnh/hamlet.htm
Citation: Holland, Norman N. "Hamlet-ÄMy Greatest Creation." Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis 3 (1975): 419-427.


Norman N. Holland
Department of English, University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville FL 32611-7310 U.S.A.

email: nholland@ufl.edu

The L-Shaped Mind of Ronald Reagan: A Psychoanalytic Study

A look into some conservative patterns--even stronger in 2004.

For all his geniality, Ronald Reagan was a remarkably aggressive man, seeing combat and competition everywhere. Losers in these struggles surrender completely, becoming an aspect of the winner or simply disappearing. To win was to be validated. To be under was to be a loser or to disappear or to be feminized. Conversely, upward space was an important plus value. Struggle forms the horizontal bar of a kind of L-shape, and winning means moving up toward open space. Needing that upward space, he easily imagined new worlds.

This is a .pdf file. You will need the Adobe Reader, available free at http://www.adobe.com.

Keywords: Reagan; conservative; identity; reader-response

URL: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/nnh/reagan.pdf
Citation: Holland, Norman N. "Het L-vormige brein van Ronald Reagan." Nieuw Wereldtijdschrift September 1984: 58-65.
Holland, Norman N. "The L-Shaped Mind of Ronald Reagan: A Psychoanalytic Study." Aging and Political Leadership. Ed. Angus McIntyre. Melbourne: Oxford University Press (Australia), 1988.
243-259. Holland, Norman N. "The L-Shaped Mind of Ronald Reagan: A Psychoanalytic Study." Psychohistory Review 17.2 (1989): 183-214.


If that's not enough literary theory and criticism for you, do try out the program, which my son John wrote, with me supplying the vocabulary. It turns out, line after tedious line, all the literary theory you could ever want. When you get there, closely watch the bottom of the screen, next to the broken key. Be patient. The machine has to think, after all.


If you have comments or suggestions, email me at nholland@ufl.edu