MLA 99 in Chicago: Special Session 442
Wednesday 29 December 1999
8:30-9:45am, Columbus Hall E and F, Hyatt Regency

Cognition, Narrative, and the Psychology of Love

The recent proliferation of non-relativistic accounts of emotion poses a particularly delicate challenge to constructivist interpretations of culture. At the same time, an increasingly multicultural focus of literary studies is beginning to render suspect the notion that narrative patterns of emotion are provincial European inventions. Where C.S. Lewis already in 1936 argued that romantic love was a poetical innovation of the French troubadours of the late Middle Ages, we propose to examine how literary representations and genres draw on a psychology of love that appears to recur across cultural divides and time periods. The four papers develop models of the liminal orders that occupy the often ignored space between a cognitive affirmation of universals and a constructivist insistence on local detail. It is in this space, we propose, that fruitful cognitive literary criticism can be located.


Session Leader
Jim Swan
SUNY Buffalo
1. Emotion Prototypes and the Lyric: Romance,  Devotionalism, and Censored Sexualities Patrick Colm Hogan
U Connecticut, Storrs
2. Emotion, Cognition, and Transcendence in Lallashevri's Poetry Lalita Pandit 
U Wisconsin, La Crosse
3. Caught Unawares by Love: 
Restoration Portrayals of the Erotic Unconscious
Francis Steen
U California, Santa Barbara
4. Filming Great Expectations
Hollywood's Anthropology of Love
Lisa Zunshine
U California, Santa Barbara
Respondent Jim Swan
  Back to Cognitive Cultural Studies

© 1999 Francis F. Steen, Communication Studies, University of California, Los Angeles