Norman Holland was unquestionably the leading 20th-century American psychoanalytic literary critic. Long known as the Dean of American psychoanalytic literary critics, Holland produced an enormous body of scholarship that appeals to both neophytes in the field and advanced researchers, many of whom have been influenced by his writings. Holland was one of the first proponents of reader-response criticism, the theorist of readers' identity themes, and the author of fifteen books that have become classics in the field. Jeffrey Berman analyzes all of Holland's books, and many of his 250 scholarly articles, highlighting continuities and discontinuities in the critic's thinking over time. A controversial if not polarizing figure, Holland is discussed in relation to his closest colleagues, including Murray Schwartz, Bernard Paris, and Leslie Fiedler, as well as his fiercest critics, among them Frederick Crews, David Bleich, and Jonathan Culler, creating a dynamic and personal portrait. Insofar as this text illuminates the evolving mind of a premier literary critic, it produces a parallel profile of the American reader, the primary object of Holland's extensive work.
Jeffrey Berman is Distinguished Teaching Professor of English at the University at Albany, State University of New York, USA, where he has been teaching since 1973. He is the author or coauthor of more than twenty books, includingConfidentiality and Its Discontents,coauthored with Paul Mosher, which received the 2017 Book Prize from the American Psychoanalytic Association. An Honorary Member of the American Psychoanalytic Association, he was selected by the Princeton Review in 2012 as one of the country's top 300 professors.