Berman, Jeffrey 1945-
Berman, Jeffrey 1945-
Born January 16, 1945, in New York, NY; son of Isadore (an engineer) and Roslyn (a teacher) Berman; married Barbara Kozinn (a computer analyst), August 11, 1968 (deceased); children: Arielle, Jillian. Education: State University of New York at Buffalo, B.A., 1967; Cornell University, M.A., 1968, Ph.D., 1971. Religion: Jewish.
Home—Schenectady, NY. Office—Department of English, State University of New York at Albany, Albany, NY 12222.
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, lecturer in English, 1971-73; State University of New York at Albany, Albany, assistant professor, 1973-79, associate professor, 1979-88, professor of English, 1988—. National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis, research scholar at Training Institute 1980-83.
Modern Language Association of America, National Association for Psychoanalytic Criticism, Association for Applied Psychoanalysis, Institute for Humanistic Studies (fellow), Joseph Conrad Society of America, Western New York Psychoanalytic Society, Phi Beta Kappa.
Joseph Conrad: Writing as Rescue, Twayne (Boston, MA), 1977.
The Talking Cure: Literary Representations of Psychoanalysis, New York University Press (New York, NY), 1985.
Narcissism and the Novel, New York University Press (New York, NY), 1990.
Diaries to an English Professor: Pain and Growth in the Classroom, University of Massachusetts Press (Amherst, MA), 1994.
Surviving Literary Suicide, University of Massachusetts Press (Amherst, MA), 1999.
Risky Writing: Self-Disclosure and Self-Transformation in the Classroom, University of Massachusetts Press (Amherst, MA), 2001.
Empathic Teaching: Education for Life, University of Massachusetts Press (Amherst, MA), 2004.
Dying to Teach: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Learning, State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 2007.
Contributor to books, including Future Females: A Critical Anthology, edited by Marleen Barr, Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1981. General editor, "Literature and Psychoanalysis Series," New York University Press. Contributor of articles and reviews to literature journals. Joseph Conrad Today, associate editor, 1977—, guest coeditor, 1980; coeditor, Synthesis, 1976-77.
Jeffrey Berman once told CA: "I am fascinated by the relationship between literature and psychoanalysis; nearly all my publications are in this area. In college I couldn't decide whether to become a psychiatrist or a professor of literature. In retrospect, I see that I have been able to pursue both interests. My ‘practice’ is limited to conflicted literary characters. One of the benefits is that I pay low malpractice insurance!"
Berman's Surviving Literary Suicide explores ways in which teachers and students can grow intellectually and spiritually from the study of suicide as described in literature. The book grew out of Berman's classes at the State University of New York at Albany, where he and his students explored texts by Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and other writers whose texts depict—or muse upon—suicide. Through surveys, essays, and classroom commentary, Berman sought his students' responses to the texts in an effort to gauge how the literature affected the students' own self-destructive thoughts. Choice contributor W. Britton noted that Surviving Literary Suicide "will be useful to a variety of audiences," most especially guidance counselors and psychology majors. Britton added that, as a whole, the work proves "helpful in … studies of psychology as well as literature." In Library Journal, David Kirby complimented Berman for an approach "that is both emotionally charged and intellectually rigorous," noting that Berman's books in general "break down the artificial barrier between criticism and pedagogy."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Berman, Jeffrey, Dying to Teach: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Learning, State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 2007.
Choice, November, 1999, W. Britton, review of Surviving Literary Suicide, p. 534.
Education Digest, October, 1999, Dudley Barlow, "Education Resources," p. 79.
Library Journal, September 1, 1985, review of The Talking Cure: Literary Representations of Psychoanalysis, p. 205; May 1, 1999, David Kirby, review of Surviving Literary Suicide, p. 74.
Modern Fiction Studies, winter, 1986, review of The Talking Cure.
Times Literary Supplement, May 30, 1986, review of The Talking Cure, p. 595.
Wilson Library Bulletin, October, 1990, Ellen Donohue Warwick, review of Narcissism and the Novel, p. 124.