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What are the most illuminating findings from the field of Cogn. Poetics?
July 16, 2014 9:59 AM   Subscribe

I have an interest in literary theory but have never really had the time to study it fully. Please help me expand my awareness :-)

I have read sections of the two main introductory textbooks on Cognitive Poetics by Gerard Steen and Joana Gavins. I haven't read a huge amount of literary theory books but I was very impressed by some of their observations.

One thing that has really improved my own awareness of my reading processes is Gavins' (I think it was her) statement that reader's build, monitor and maintain theories of meaning. Wow. That really helped me get a handle of what's going on when I read.

Please could someone familiar with this field please summarise the most useful observations from applying Cognitive Science to literature?

Also, as a bonus: could I check my interpretation of Steens' statement that a text is an artefact? If that's the case, having some knowledge of Archaeological theory, it strikes me you could apply Static-Dynamic Theory to literature.

From what I remember of that theory, it says artefacts are "statics" which are a product of past "dynamics." Anyway, that's pretty much my level of understanding of that theory. To avoid boring people, can I just check if this implies that the literary equivalent of Ethno-Archaeology is Creative Writing?

Thanks for any illuminating info.
posted by Musashi Daryl to Education (2 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Haven't done much reading in cognitive science; but your mention of artefacts being "statics" of past "dynamics" reminds me of terminology of Wilhelm Dilthey, for whom the artefacts of culture -- written and otherwise -- are *objectified spirit*. What the hermeneut ( = reader ) wants is spirit -- what she has to work with is spirit that has by whatever means been placed or frozen into an objective medium. ( A kind of inspectable residue of spirit ... )
posted by bertran at 12:30 PM on July 16

I am a poet and a lit scholar but not that familiar with this field. However I did just pull up some articles on EBSCOHost and can download pdfs to send if you would like. I don't know which of them are directly on point, but feel free to mefi mail me your email address if you'd like to take a look.
posted by mermaidcafe at 2:02 PM on July 16

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