Cognitive Literary Science Dialogues between Literature and Cognition 1st Edition

by Michael Burke, Emily T. Troscianko

Cognitive Literary Science Dialogues between Literature and Cognition 1st Edition This book brings together researchers with cognitive scientific and literary backgrounds to present innovative research in all three variations on the possible interactions between literary studies and cognitive science The tripartite structure of the volume reflects a more ambitious conception of what cognitive approaches to literature are and could be than is usually encountered and thus aims both to map out and to advance the field The first section corresponds to what most people think of

Publisher : Oxford University Press

Author : Michael Burke, Emily T. Troscianko

ISBN : 9780190496869

Year : 2017

Language: en

File Size : 3.46 MB

Category : Used Textbooks

Cognitive Literary Science

Cognition  and Poetics (CAP) fosters high quality interdisciplinary
research at the intersection of cognitive science, literature, the arts, and
linguistics. The series seeks to expand the development of theories and
methodologies that integrate research in the relevant disciplines to further our understanding of the production and reception of the arts as
one of the most central and complex operations of the human mind. CAP
welcomes submissions of edited volumes and monographs in English
that focus on literatures and cultures from around the world.
Series Editors:

Alexander Bergs, University of Osnabrück
Margaret H. Freeman, Myrifield Institute for Cognition and the Arts
Peter Schneck, University of Osnabrück
Achim Stephan, University of Osnabrück
Advisory Board:

Mark Bruhn, Regis University Denver, CO, USA
Peer Bundgard, Aarhus University, Denmark
Michael Burke, University College Roosevelt Middelburg, The Netherlands
Wallace Chafe, University of California Santa Barbara, USA
Barbara Dancygier, University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada
Frank Jäkel, Universität Osnabrück, Germany
Winfried Menninghaus, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
Keith Oatley, University of Toronto, Canada
Jan Slaby, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
Reuven Tsur, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Mark Turner, Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH, USA
Simone Winko, Georg-​August-​Universität Göttingen, Germany
Dahlia Zaidel, University of California Los Angles, USA
Cognitive Approaches to Early Modern Spanish Literature
Isabel Jaén and Julien Jacques Simon
Cognitive Literary Science: Dialogues between Literature and Cognition
Edited by Michael Burke and Emily T. Troscianko

Cognitive Literary
Dialogues between Literature and Cognition

Edited by Michael Burke
Emily T. Troscianko


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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Burke, Michael, 1964- editor. | Troscianko, Emily, editor.
Title: Cognitive literary science : dialogues between literature and
cognition / edited by Michael Burke and Emily T. Troscianko.
Description: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, [2017] |
Series: Cognition and poetics | Includes bibliographical references and index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2016018910| ISBN 9780190496869 (hardcover : alk. paper) |
ISBN 9780190643072 (epub) | ISBN 9780190496883 (online)
Subjects: LCSH: Discourse analysis, Literary—Psychological aspects |
Psychology and literature. | Cognition in literature. |
Literature—Psychology—Handbooks, manuals, etc. | Psycholinguistics.
Classification: LCC P302.5 .C64 2016 | DDC 801/.92—dc23
LC record available at
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Printed by Sheridan Books, Inc., United States of America

To our partners, for their patience


Acknowledgements  ix
Contributors  xi
Introduction: A Window on to the Landscape of Cognitive Literary
Science  1
Emily T. Troscianko and Michael Burke
PART I: Literature through a Cognitive Lens
1. Scientific Concepts in Literary Studies: Towards Criteria for the
Meeting of Literature and Cognitive Science   17
Marcus Hartner
2. Towards a ‘Natural’ Bond of Cognitive and Affective
Narratology  35
Caroline Pirlet and Andreas Wirag
3. ‘Annihilation of Self’: The Cognitive Challenge of the Sublime   55
David S. Miall
4. The Space between Your Ears: Construal Level Theory, Cognitive
Science, and Science Fiction   73
James Carney
5. Patterns of Thought: Narrative and Verse   93
Brian Boyd
PART II: Cognition through a Literary Lens
6. Simulation and the Structure of Emotional Memory: Learning from
Arthur Miller’s After the Fall  113
Patrick Colm Hogan
7. Cognitive Science and the Double Vision of Fiction   135
Merja Polvinen
8. Fantastic Cognition   151
Karin Kukkonen

9. Feedback in Reading and Disordered Eating   169
Emily T. Troscianko
10. Animal Minds across Discourse Domains   195
David Herman
PART III: Literature and Cognition in Cognitive Science
11. Embodied Dynamics in Literary Experience   219
Raymond W. Gibbs Jr.
12. How Readers’ Lives Affect Narrative Experiences   239
Richard J. Gerrig and Micah L. Mumper
13. On Truth and Fiction   259
Keith Oatley
14. Under Pressure: Norms, Rules, and Coercion in Linguistic Analyses
and Literary Readings   279
Alexander Bergs
15. Affective and Aesthetic Processes in Literary
Reading: A Neurocognitive Poetics Perspective   303
Arthur M. Jacobs
Index  327

[ viii ] Contents


This book appears in the Oxford University Press series Cognition and
Poetics. We are especially grateful to the series editors, Alexander Bergs,
Margaret H. Freeman, Peter Schneck, and Achim Stephan for seeing potential in our project and for commissioning it. We are also indebted to the
anonymous reviewers of our book proposal, who helped focus our ideas
in the planning stages. This volume is the third artefact, as it were, of our
ongoing interest in cognitive literary science (CLSci), which also gives the
book its title. The first of the three was a symposium entitled Science and
Literary Criticism, held in April 2012 at St John’s College, Oxford; we are
extremely grateful to the St John’s College Research Centre and to Terence
Cave (via the Balzan Interdisciplinary Seminar ‘Literature as an Object of
Knowledge’) for financial, organizational, and moral support in making
that event happen. The second of our joint ventures was a special issue on
‘Explorations in Cognitive Literary Science’ published in September 2013
in the Journal of Literary Semantics. Several of the authors whose work features in this book were involved in those earlier projects.
Editing a volume of scholarly contributions is a task that requires more
than just the editors. We are grateful to a number of anonymous reviewers who offered insightful and constructive feedback to the authors. We
also appreciate the help of all those at Oxford University Press working
in copyediting, production, and sales to publish and promote this book.
Any errors that may remain are our responsibility. Finally, we are especially
indebted to Hallie Stebbins at Oxford University Press for all her guidance,
expertise, and kindness during the writing and editing process.
While every effort has been made to contact copyright holders, we would
be pleased to hear of any that have inadvertently been omitted.
M.B. and E.T.
Oxford, UK, and Middelburg, NL
February 2016


Alexander Bergs joined the Institute for English and American Studies at
Osnabrück University in 2006, when he became Full Professor and Chair of
English Language and Linguistics. His research interests include language
variation and change, constructional approaches to language, the role
of context in language, and cognitive poetics. His works include several
authored and edited books (Social Networks and Historical Sociolinguistics
[2005], Modern Scots [2005], Constructions and Language Change [2008],
Contexts and Constructions [2009]), one textbook on Synchronic English
Linguistics (2012) and one on Historical Linguistics (co-​authored with Kate
Burridge, 2016), as well as the two-​volume Handbook of English Historical
Linguistics (edited with Laurel Brinton, 2012). He has taught at the universities of Düsseldorf, Bonn, Santiago de Compostela, Catania, and
Wisconsin-​Milwaukee, and has organized several international workshops
and conferences. Apart from several terms as Director of the Institute of
English and American Studies, as Dean of the Faculty of Linguistics and
Literatures, and as member of the University Senate, he is one of the
founding directors of the Research Cluster for Cognition and Poetics at
Osnabrück University.
Brian Boyd is University Distinguished Professor in English, Drama, and
Writing Studies at the University of Auckland. He is best known for his
work on Vladimir Nabokov—​a biography, critical books, and editions, most
recently of Letters to Véra (Penguin, 2014, and Knopf, 2015) and hundreds of
articles—​and on literature, evolution, and cognition, including On the Origin
of Stories:  Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction and Why Lyrics Last:  Evolution,
Cognition, and Shakespeare’s Sonnets (Harvard, 2009 and 2012) and the co-​
edited Evolution, Literature, and Film:  A  Reader (Columbia, 2010). He has
written on literature from Homer to the present, on comics and film, on literary theory and translation, and on art, philosophy, and science. His work
has won awards on four continents and has been published in 19 languages.
He is currently writing a biography of philosopher Karl Popper.

Michael Burke is Professor of Rhetoric at University College Roosevelt
(Utrecht University). He is the author of Literary Reading Cognition and
Emotion: An Exploration of the Oceanic Mind (2011). He has published numerous chapters and articles on the topic of cognitive literary science. His areas
of interest also include classical rhetoric, stylistics, and pragmatics.
James Carney is Senior Research Associate in Psychology at Lancaster
University. He previously held a Marie Curie Fellowship and a Junior
Research Fellowship (with Linacre College) at the Department of
Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford. Other appointments have
included working as a lecturer in English literature at University College
Cork and the University of Limerick. His research interests centre on the
application of insights from the cognitive and experimental sciences to culture, broadly conceived. To date, this has resulted in studies of literature,
religion, mythology, popular culture, poetics, and narrative in a wide variety of scholarly journals.
Richard J. Gerrig is a professor of psychology at Stony Brook University.
Gerrig’s research focuses on cognitive psychological aspects of language
use. One line of work examines the mental processes that underlie efficient communication. A  second research programme considers the cognitive and emotional changes readers experience when they are transported
to narrative worlds. His book Experiencing Narrative Worlds was published
by Yale University Press in 1993. Gerrig is a Fellow of the Society for Text &
Discourse, the American Psychological Association, and the Association for
Psychological Science. He is the editor of the Journal of Memory and Language.
Raymond W. Gibbs Jr. is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the
University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author of Poetics of Mind:
Figurative Thought, Language and Understanding (1994), Intentions in the
Experience of Meaning (1999), Embodiment and Cognitive Science (2006),
and, with Herb Colston, Interpreting Figurative Meaning (2012). His newest
book is Metaphor Wars: Conceptual Metaphor in Human Life (2015). He is
also editor of The Cambridge Handbook of Metaphor and Thought (2008) and
the journal Metaphor and Symbol.
Marcus Hartner is lecturer in English Literature at Bielefeld University
in Germany, where he is also part of a research project on Contemporary
Fictions of Migration. His main research interests include literary theory,
cognitive approaches to narrative, and the study of both contemporary
and early modern literature and culture. In the field of cognitive narratology his work has focused primarily on blending theory, the sociopsychological underpinnings of character construction, and the dynamics of

[ xii ] Contributors

character interaction. Among his publications are Perspektivische Interaktion
im Roman:  Kognition, Rezeption, Interpretation [The Interaction of
Perspectives in the Novel:  Cognition, Reception, Interpretation] (de
Gruyter, 2012)  and a co-​
edited volume on Blending and the Study of
Narrative: Approaches and Applications (de Gruyter, 2012).
David Herman, who has taught at institutions that include North Carolina
State University, Ohio State University, and, most recently, Durham
University in the UK, is working to bring ideas from narrative studies into dialogue with scholarship on animals and human‒animal relationships. His current projects include an edited collection titled Animal
Comics: Multispecies Storyworlds in Graphic Narratives (forthcoming from
Bloomsbury in 2017) and a monograph on Narratology Beyond the Human
(in progress).
Patrick Colm Hogan is a professor in the English Department at the
University of Connecticut, where he is also on the faculty of the Program
in Cognitive Science. He is the author of nineteen books, including How
Authors’ Minds Make Stories (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and Beauty
and Sublimity: A Cognitive Aesthetics of Literature and the Arts (Cambridge
University Press, 2016).
Arthur M. Jacobs is Professor of Experimental and Neurocognitive
Psychology and founding director of the Dahlem Institute for Neuroimaging
of Emotion (D.I.N.E.) at the Freie Universität Berlin (FUB). As part of
the highly interdisciplinary Languages of Emotions project at the FUB,
Professor Jacobs led a team investigating the Affective and Aesthetic
Processes of Reading. He is (co-​)author of more than 250 scientific publications in the fields of reading research, psycholinguistics, affective neuroscience, and neurocognitive poetics, including the book Gehirn und Gedicht
[Brain and Poetry] (2011).
Karin Kukkonen is Associate Professor in Comparative Literature at
the University of Oslo and Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Research
Fellow. She has published on cognitive approaches to comics and graphic
novels (Contemporary Comics Storytelling, 2013)  and embodied and probabilistic cognitive approaches to literary narrative, as well as on the 18th-​
century novel. Her forthcoming monograph A Prehistory of Cognitive
Poetics: Neoclassicism and the Novel brings the neoclassical criticism of the
17th and 18th centuries (which was informed by the ‘new science’ of the
time) into conversation with today’s cognitive approaches to literature. In
a project funded by the Academy of Finland, Kukkonen is currently pursuing research on how the rise of embodied strategies of style and narration

Contributors  [ xiii ]

in the 18th-​century novel contributed to the immersive, gripping nature
of the genre.
David S. Miall received his doctoral degree from the University of Wales
at Cardiff, after which he taught for 10 years at the College of St Paul &
St Mary in Cheltenham. He moved to Canada in 1989 and took up a position in the Department of English in 1990, specializing in literature of the
British Romantic period. His research interests include empirical study of
literary reading—​a field in which he has collaborated with Don Kuiken in
Psychology since 1990. The first of several federal grants for this research
was awarded in 1992, the latest in April 2008. In addition to his book
Literary Reading: Empirical and Theoretical Studies (2006), he is the author
of over 140 chapters and scholarly articles. He became Emeritus Professor
on his retirement in 2012. He now resides in France.
Micah L. Mumper is a doctoral candidate in the Cognitive Science program
at Stony Brook University. He is advised by Dr. Richard Gerrig. Using a
combination of behavioural and self-​report methodologies, he studies how
readers’ global and moment-​by-​moment experiences of fictional worlds
influence narrative impact. In particular, his research considers how basic
cognitive processes support comprehension, how reading may benefit
social-​cognitive abilities, how narratives affect readers’ moral judgements,
as well as how fiction influences real-​world attitudes and behaviours.
Keith Oatley read Natural Sciences at Cambridge and did a PhD at University
College London. With Maja Djikic and Raymond Mar, he has been involved
in developing the psychology of fiction, a movement in which literary analyses are combined with empirical and theoretical research in psychology.
His work has included the relation of reading to writing fiction, exploration
of how literary works enable people to transform themselves, and research
on how reading fiction encourages empathy with others. Among his books
on fiction is Such Stuff as Dreams (2011). He has also published three novels, the first of which won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First
Book. His most recent book is a novella combined with psychological analyses, The Passionate Muse (2012).
Caroline Pirlet is now working as a management consultant in Frankfurt/​
Main. During her time as a PhD candidate at the International Graduate
Center for the Study of Culture (GCSC) in Giessen, Germany, she was a
visiting scholar with Project Narrative at Ohio State University (Columbus,
OH). Her research has focused on the affective dimension of understanding
narratives, and reception-​orientated cognitive-​narratological approaches in
particular. She co-​authored the entry Narratology in English and American

[ xiv ] Contributors

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