Dalloway, tremble when meeting Clarissa? The title of this book, however, offers an even more extensive claim. The reason why we read fiction, she contends, is because it exercises our mind-reading ability: As a sustained representation of numerous interacting minds, the novel feeds the powerful, representation-hungry complex of cognitive adaptations whose very condition of being is a constant stimulation delivered either by direct interactions with other people or by imaginary approximation of such interactions Zunshine thus approaches fiction not through speech-act theory or questions of pretended beliefs, nor through mimesis and represented worlds, but through the stimulation and exercise of human sociability. In order to make her argument, Zunshine concentrates on two theoretical concepts: the Theory of Mind or ToM and metarepresentation.
|Published (Last):||8 December 2009|
|PDF File Size:||4.74 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||13.6 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Written for a general audience, this study provides a jargon-free introduction to the rapidly growing interdisciplinary field known as cognitive approaches to literature and culture.
File Name: zunshine why we read fiction. The title of this book, however, offers an even more extensive claim. The reason why we read fiction, she contends, is because it exercises our mind-reading ability:. As a sustained representation of numerous interacting minds, the novel feeds the powerful, representation-hungry complex of cognitive adaptations whose very condition of being is a constant stimulation delivered either by direct interactions with other people or by imaginary approximation of such interactions Zunshine thus approaches fiction not through speech-act theory or questions of pretended beliefs, nor through mimesis and represented worlds, but through the stimulation and exercise of human sociability.
Why We Read Fiction offers a lucid overview of the most exciting area of research in contemporary cognitive psychology known as "Theory of Mind" and discusses its implications for literary studies.
It covers a broad range of fictional narratives, from Richardson s Clarissa. Please choose whether or not you want other users to be able to see on your profile that this library is a favorite of yours. Finding libraries that hold this item You may have already requested this item. Please select Ok if you would like to proceed with this request anyway. Lisa Zunshine Zunshine sees our interest in the inner workings of the minds of others as a human baseline characteristic, one that can help explain both why fiction is written and why it works such magic on its readers.
Humanities professors proclaim, with considerable relief, that the Theory Wars are over. The postmodernist and poststructuralist battles which reduced much of the scholarship of the liberal arts to a mad and maddening scramble for the pinnacle of obscurantism and abstruseness have passed, and the survivors have settled back into their armchairs to read a good book.
What now, that the possibility that some books may actually mean something, that some few authors may actually have written with effective intent, has been resurrected — has been, at the very least, de-demonized? A while back, I wrote about two approaches to literary criticism, strategies that took their cues, even their methods, from more empirical disciplines. She writes:. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again.
In this interdisciplinary study, literary critic Zunshine, the founder of a large discussion group on cognitive approaches to literature approved by the Modern Language Association, draws upon the works of cognitive evolutionary anthropologists and psychologists, notably Scott Atran, Paul Bloom, Pascal Boyer, Susan A. Gelman, to examine a wide and strikingly diversified corpus of texts including drama, novels, science fiction, nonsense poetry and surrealist art. In three unequal parts, Zunshine demonstrates how these strange concepts, whose uncanniness derives from our incapacity to categorize them, maintain our attention and excite our imagination. After examining works such as Frankenstein, R. Zunshine uncovers the cognitive method in some forms of surrealism as she analyzes paintings by Man Ray, Victor Brauner or Meret Oppenheim. This anti-essentialist militant discourse could alienate some readers who may feel that the argument is cogent and horizon-opening as long as it shows how our cognitive equipment guides us through texts; yet when it bears a sweeping judgment on this equipment, it goes beyond the scope of literary criticism and may sound arbitrary. Yet cognitive theory offers an original and refreshing way to revisit and understand texts and it is not necessarily incompatible with other approaches.
Similar authors to follow
Some genres, such as picaresque novels, detective stories, and comedies of manners, are built around characters intentionally deceiving each other. I have argued elsewhere that fiction exploits our readiness to intuit mental states behind behavior: we make sense of what we read by attributing thoughts and feelings to characters, narrators, authors, and implied readers. If we want to use a cognitive-literary perspective to take a closer look at what lying can do for a writer in a particular genre in addition, that is, to merely reflecting and magnifying our real-life mindreading uncertainties , we would do well to turn to an early paradigm-setting specimen of that genre. Among those familial pastimes, lying occupies a pride of place. Every couple of chapters, a new intrigue blossoms, often starting with a sexual transgression and snowballing as characters keep eavesdropping on each other and framing each other. Let us consider one such episode in some detail and then see what we gain by viewing it through a cognitive lens.
Böcker av Lisa Zunshine