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Title The self-help compulsion : searching for advice in modern literature / Beth Blum.
Author Blum, Beth, author.
Publication New York : Columbia University Press, [2020]
Copyright date ©2020
Description xiv, 328 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Call # 809.93353 B
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 261-318) and index.
Contents Introduction -- Self-help's portable wisdom -- Bouvard and Pécuchet: Flaubert's DIY dystopia -- Negative visualization -- Joyce for life -- Modernism without tears -- Practicality hunger -- Coda: The shadow university of self-help.
Summary "Samuel Beckett as a guru for business executives? James Joyce as a guide to living a good life? The notion of notoriously experimental authors sharing a shelf with self-help books might seem far-fetched, yet a hidden history of rivalry, influence, and imitation links these two worlds. In The Self-Help Compulsion, Beth Blum reveals the profound entanglement of modern literature and commercial advice from the late nineteenth century to the present day"-- Provided by publisher.
"Blum explores popular reading practices in which people turn to literature in search of practical advice alongside modern writers' rebukes of such instrumental purposes. As literary authors positioned themselves in opposition to people like Samuel Smiles and Dale Carnegie, readers turned to self-help for the promises of mobility, agency, and use that serious literature was reluctant to supply. Blum unearths a series of unlikely cases of the love-hate relationship between serious fiction and commercial advice, from Gustave Flaubert's mockery of early DIY culture to Dear Abby's cutting diagnoses of Nathanael West and from Virginia Woolf's ambivalent polemics against self-improvement to the ways that contemporary global authors such as Mohsin Hamid and Tash Aw explicitly draw on the self-help genre. She traces the self-help industry's tendency to quote, repurpose, and adapt literary wisdom and considers what self-help might have to teach today's university. Offering a new account of self-help's origins, appeal, and cultural and literary import around the world, this book reveals that self-help's most valuable secrets are not about getting rich or winning friends but about how and why people read" -- Provided by publisher.
Subject Fiction -- History and criticism -- Theory, etc.
Fiction -- Psychological aspects.
Psychology in literature.
Psychology and literature.
Psychological literature.
Books and reading -- Psychological aspects.
Reading interests.
Self-help techniques.
Books and reading -- Psychological aspects. (OCoLC)fst00836464
Fiction -- Psychological aspects. (OCoLC)fst00923742
Psychological literature. (OCoLC)fst01081369
Psychology and literature. (OCoLC)fst01081551
Psychology in literature. (OCoLC)fst01081559
Reading interests. (OCoLC)fst01090814
Self-help techniques. (OCoLC)fst01111754
Genre Criticism, interpretation, etc. (OCoLC)fst01411635
Alt Title Searching for advice in modern literature
Related To Online version: Blum, Beth, The self-help compulsion New York : Columbia University Press, 2019. 9780231551083 (DLC) 2019023321
ISBN 9780231194921 (hardcover)
0231194927 (hardcover)

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