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Bibliotherapy: Therapy through Literature MA module in London

Written by Lisa Spurgin, 4th December 2014

bookIf literature takes life as its subject-matter, what practical relation do books have to the lives of those who read them? What help does reading really offer to people?

These are the questions raised by what is now often called ‘Bibliotherapy’: the attempt to use books in the effort towards personal development and discovery. They are also the
questions to be investigated in Therapy through Literature, a stand-alone module offered by the Centre for Research into Reading, Literature and Society (CRILS) at the University of Liverpool in London.

Therapy through Literature takes as its subject what the psychologist William James described
as the predicament of ‘twice-born souls’ – those who have to readjust to experience,
following trauma. It looks at crucial versions of life-reappraisal within literature, including prose narratives of breakdown and second chance from Charles Dickens to Oliver Sacks, and the expressive power of poetry as a form of second life, including Elizabethan sonnet writers, Wordsworth
and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. This is an intensive but personally moving reading course
designed to show the value of literary thinking through the close exploration of literary
language across the ages, in the search for human meaning.

The module can become part of a two-year, part-time Masters degree in Reading for Life, the first of its kind in the country. Reading for Life is concerned with the wider and deeper ways in which serious creative literature 'finds' people, emotionally and imaginatively, by offering living models and visions of human troubles and human possibilities. The course offers books of all kinds - novels, poetry, drama and essays in philosophy and theology - and from all periods, from Shakespeare to the present.

The Therapy through Literature MA module starts in January 2015 at the University of Liverpool in London, 33 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1AG, with enrolment taking place now.

Cost: £750 per module (+ £50 for accreditation); 30 credits for 6,000 word essay, plus informal formative writing in practice and preparation.

Please contact Professor Phil Davis, Centre for Research into Reading, Literature and Society (CRILS), University of Liverpool: p.m.davis@liv.ac.uk

For more information, see the University of Liverpool in London website or the following leaflet: https://www.scribd.com/doc/249139728/Therapy-Through-Literature-MA-Module

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