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Cognitive Approaches to Literature


MLA Discussion Group for Cognitive Approaches to Literature
 Annual Convention of the Modern Language Association
Washington, D.C., 27-30 December 2000

The Literary Imagination
 Friday 29 December at 3:30-4:45pm
Wilson B at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel

Introduction   |   Program   |    Resources

The Discussion Group for Cognitive Approaches to Literature
invites you to attend a social event and cash bar on Friday 29 December from 5:15 - 6:30pm in Wilson B at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel (the social event immediately follows the session and is held in the same room)


The Literary Imagination  top
Organized by the Discussion Group for Cognitive Approaches to Literature

The imagination plays a central part in the phenomenon of literature, but has recently been left largely ignored by the critical community. The cognitive sciences provide a rich field of possibilities for approaching the literary imagination, drawing both on the rich subjective phenomenology of reading, the specific social circumstances of a literary practice, and the underlying cognitive processes that engender and structure the imagination. This year's speakers draw on a wide variety of cognitive tools, including mental space theory, conceptual blending, the neuroscience of the emotions, and the logic of visualization. We are delighted to host this occasion for presenting exciting new work from the growing body of literary scholars who look to the mind sciences for perspectives that challenge established theoretical and interpretive tools.

Program  top

Presider  Ronald Schleifer
University of Oklahoma
1. Mental Spaces and Free Indirect Discourse Vimala Herman
University of Nottingham
2. Conceptual Integration as a Buddhist Literary Genre D. Neil Schmid
University of Pennsylvania
Skills of the Highly Affective Reader,
or How to Manage
Gravity's Rainbow?
Mark Hansen
Princeton University
4. Literature and the Logic of Visualization Mervyn Nicholson
University College, BC

Resources top

(see also the lists of publications following the abstracts and the General Resources on Cognitive Approaches to Literature; please send suggestions to Francis Steen).

Edelman, Gerald M. and Giulio Tononi. A Universe of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination. New York, NY: Basic Books, 2000.

Lakoff, George and Mark Johnson. Philosophy In the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought. New York: Basic Books, 1999. Reviewed by Francis Steen.

Scarry, Elaine. Dreaming by the Book. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000. Reviewed by James Hood (external).

Schleifer, Ronald, Robert Con Davis, and Nancy L. Mergler (eds.) Culture and Cognition: The Boundaries of Literary and Scientific Inquiry. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1992.

Schleifer, Ronald. "Disciplinarity and Collaboration in the Sciences and Humanities." College English 59. 4 (April 1997): 438-452.

Turner, Mark. The Literary Mind. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Reviews and excerpts.


Discussion Group home page
Cognitive Approaches to Literature
First speaker: Vimala Herman
CogWeb Bibliography Francis F. Steen, Communication Studies, University of California, Los Angeles