Cognitive Poetics in Practice

Cognitive Poetics in Practice

Cognitive Poetics in Practice

Cognitive Poetics in Practice


Cognitive Poetics is a new way of thinking about literature, involving the application of cognitive linguistics and psychology to literary texts. This student-friendly book provides a set of case studies to help students understand the theory and master the practice of cognitive poetics in analysis.Written by a range of well-known scholars from a variety of disciplines and countries, Cognitive Poetics in Practice offers students a unique insight into this exciting subject. In each chapter, contributors present a practical application of the methods and techniques of cognitive poetics, to a range of texts, from Wilfred Owen to Roald Dahl. The editors' general introduction provides an overview of the field, and each chapter begins with an editors' introduction to set the chapter in context. Specifically designed sections suggesting further activities for students are also provided at the end of each case study. Cognitive Poetics in Practice can be used on its own or as a companion volume to Peter Stockwell's Cognitive Poetics: An Introduction. This book is critical reading for students on courses in cognitive poetics, stylistics and literary linguistics and will be of interest to all those involved in literary studies, critical theory and linguistics.


Gerard Steen and Joanna Gavins

The study of literature has become much less elitist over the past couple of decades. The most obvious manifestation of this development is the rise of cultural studies, which approaches literature as just one element of all culture, including music, film, television, the printed press, and so on. A somewhat more recent manifestation is cognitive poetics, presented to a broad public by Peter Stockwell's Cognitive Poetics: An Introduction (Stockwell 2002a). Cognitive poetics, too, sees literature not just as a matter for the happy few, but as a specific form of everyday human experience and especially cognition that is grounded in our general cognitive capacities for making sense of the world.

The present collection of chapters is intended as a companion volume to Stockwell's introduction and aims to demonstrate at a more advanced level what cognitive poetics may look like in actual academic practice. In particular, we are presenting a series of case studies in the general areas delineated by each of Stockwell's chapters, which contain further thoughts for discussion and possibilities for application in class. Some of the cases are more theoretical and others more empirical, and we hope that this combination of approaches offers a balanced incentive for pursuing further work in cognitive poetics. For that purpose, we have also included carefully designed sections for 'further activities' which can be found at the end of each chapter.

In positioning cognitive poetics in this way, we are adopting a historical perspective on the development of the study of literature. Both the position and value of literature itself, as well as of the academic study of literature, have shifted considerably in recent years. The appeal of literature has been challenged by new art forms directed at new groups of audiences through new media, and it has become inevitable to consider the resemblance and difference between these art forms and literature in terms of their psychological and social effects. This is precisely what cognitive poetics promises to bring into view, by relating the structures of the work of art, including the literary text, to their presumed or observed psychological effects on the recipient, including the reader.

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