Literary theorists and critics have begun the exciting and important
task of forging a dialogue with researchers in the cognitive neurosciences.
Recent work by literary scholars like Holland, Tsur, Turner, Spolsky, and
Scarry, as well as by their counterparts in cognitive psychology (Gibbs,
Rubin), artificial intelligence (Hobbs, Simon), philosopy of mind (Dennett,
Johnson), and linguistics (Lakoff, de Beaugrande) has amply demonstrated
the promise of such dialogue for research on both sides of the traditional
literature/science divide. Most of the relevant work to date, however,
has tended to address in synchronic fashion issues like narrative poetics,
figurative language, prosody, literariness, imagery, and the like. There
are as yet scarcely any notable attempts to bridge the concerns of literary
history with those of the cognitive neurosciences. This lack is doubly
unfortunate. It may be taken as implying that historicist perspectives
are incompatible with paradigms or models drawn from the cognitive neurosciences,
although this is anything but the case; and it may also discourage attempts
to bring historicist and cognitive approaches into constructive engagement
simply from the dearth of examples. This session on "Literature,
History, and Cognition" is intended both to bring this problem into focus
and to propose some tentative ways forward.
|2.||Cognitive Historicism: "Art Manufactures" and the Exhibition of 1851||Joseph Bizup
CogWeb: Cognitive Culture Theory. Francis Steen's site on the relevance of the study of human cognition to literary and cultural studies.
David Miall's home page: resources on literature and psychology, reader-response research, and Romanticism.
Literature, Cognition & the Brain: research at the intersection of literary studies, cognitive theory, and neuroscience. Edited by Mary Crane and Alan Richardson, Boston College.