Encyclopedia and Handbook Entries
I've contributed entries to several reference works over the past decade:
Elms, A. C. (1999). "Sigmund Freud." In M. Runco & S. Pritzker (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Creativity, vol. 1, 745-751. San Diego: Academic Press.
". . . . Though few psychologists and
psychiatrists now wholeheartedly accept Freud's specific versions of
theory and therapy, most current personality theories and
psychotherapies incorporate his broad positions at some level. His
influence is most strongly visible in two areas: first, the academic
practice of critical and cultural theory, plus psychobiography and
psychohistory; and second, in our society's most widespread conceptions
of personality, which include many "pop psychology" versions of
unconscious conflict, the retention of the "inner child," psychological
defenses such as denial and reaction formation, and the variously named
contrasts between male (rule-oriented) and female
(relationship-oriented) personality patterns. Every few years --
sometimes every few months or even weeks -- a new book or magazine
article announces that Freud is dead and that his ideas are in total
disarray. But such repeated insistence on his death suggests that Freud
is still a very lively ghost, continuing to haunt our most anxiously
and aggressively defended ideas of our own basic nature."
Elms, A. C. (2000). "Literature and psychology." In A. E. Kazdin (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Psychology, vol. 5, 63-66. New York: American Psychological Association and Oxford University Press.
". . . . Aristotle proposed that mimesis, the
imitation of life in art, is an essential feature of human psychology.
Freud saw the elemental storytelling phenomena of night dreams and
daydreams as the original models for creative literature. More
recently, such psychologists as Donald Spence (Narrative Truth and Historical Truth, New York, 1982) and Dan McAdams (The Stories We Live By,
New York, 1993) have argued that rendering one's own remembered (or
misremembered) life as a story is one of our most valuable means to get
through that life in reasonably good shape psychologically. Not
surprisingly, writers have also characterized the story-teller's role
as central in human psychological functioning (see, for example, Mario
Vargas Llosa's novel The Storyteller, New York, 1989; Salman Rushdie's novel Haroun and the Sea of Stories, London, 1990; and Ursula Le Guin's story collection A Fisherman of the Inland Sea,
1994). However preferences among theories may shift, whether in
psychology or in literary scholarship, the historically close
relationship of psychology and literature is unlikely to diminish. Each
field can benefit from greater attention to the other; neither can
reasonably ignore the other."
Elms, A. C. (2002). "Biography and psychoanalysis." In E. Erwin (Ed.), The Freud Encyclopedia, pp. 47-48. New York: Routledge.
". . . . Six decades after Freud's death, his
direct and indirect influence on the writing of biography remains
powerful, whatever the nature of the specific subject. Contemporary
biographers may take their cue from such second-generation
psychobiographers as Erik Erikson and Leon Edel; they may say little
about Oedipal issues and id instincts; they may employ later expansions
and modifications of psychoanalytic concepts by object relations
theorists and self psychologists. But they are nonetheless likely to
incorporate such distinctly Freudian features as (a) the shaping
influence of the subject's early childhood; (b) the defensive
distortion of the subject's memories and perceptions; (c) the symbolic
significance of dreams, fantasies, and other imaginative products; and
(d) most broadly, the role of unconscious motives and conflicts in the
subject's adult behavior. Biographers have at times attempted to write
psychological biographies that are totally non-Freudian, but with
little success. Freudian concepts may have lost ground in other areas
of intellectual enterprise, but in biography they continue to be
useful, and therefore central."
In the Handbook of Psychobiography,
edited by William Todd Schultz (Oxford University Press, 2005), I have
four chapters: a reprint of my 1988 paper "Freud as Leonardo: Why the
First Psychobiography Went Wrong"; a chapter written in collaboration
with Bruce Heller, "Twelve Ways to Say 'Lonesome,'" analyzing Elvis
Presley's many recorded performances of "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"; a
chapter on how to decide which theory or theories to apply to a
psychobiographical subject, "When the Glove Fits"; and a chapter
written in collaboration with Anna Song, "Alive and Kicking," about
studying active political candidates.
In the Encyclopedia of Themes in Science Fiction and Fantasy, edited by Gary Westfahl (Greenwood, 2005), I have three entries: on Cordwainer Smith's novel Norstrilia, on psychology in science fiction, and on metafiction and recursiveness in fantasy and science fiction.
In the Handbook of Research Methods in Personality Psychology, edited
by Richard W. Robins, R. Chris Fraley, & Robert F. Krueger
(Guilford Press, 2007), I have a chapter on research methods in