The Emergence of Mind: Representations of Consciousness in Narrative Discourse in English

The Emergence of Mind: Representations of Consciousness in Narrative Discourse in English

The Emergence of Mind: Representations of Consciousness in Narrative Discourse in English

The Emergence of Mind: Representations of Consciousness in Narrative Discourse in English

Synopsis

From Chaucer's Pardoner to Eliot's Edward Casaubon, from Behn's Oroonoko to Woolf 's Clarissa Dalloway-the multifarious perceptions, inferences, memories, attitudes, and emotions of such characters are in some cases as vividly familiar to us readers as those of the living, breathing individuals we know from our own day-to-day experiences in the world at large. Equally diverse are the investigative frameworks that have been developed to study such fictional minds, their operations and qualities, And The narrative means used to portray them. The Emergence of Mind provides new perspectives on the strategies used to represent minds in stories and to suggest the variety of analytic approaches that illuminate those strategies. In this interdisciplinary and groundbreaking collection of essays, distinguished scholars such as Monika Fludernik, Alan Palmer, and Lisa Zunshine examine trends in the representation of consciousness in English-language narrative discourse from 700 To The present. Tracing commonalities and differences in the portrayal of fictional minds over virtually the entire time span during which narrative discourse in English has been written and read, The Emergence of Mind will have a lasting impact on literary studies, narratology, and other fields.

Excerpt

David Herman

What This Book Is About,
Who It Is For, and What It Aims to Do

In her foundational 1978 study of strategies for representing consciousness in narrative fiction, Transparent Minds, Dorrit Cohn begins her analysis by underscoring what she takes to be “the singular power possessed by the novelist: creator of beings whose inner lives he can reveal at will” (4). As Cohn’s study demonstrates, however, the power in question manifests itself through a multiplicity of methods for evoking fictional minds, which can of course be as richly various, as strikingly memorable, as minds encountered outside the domain of fiction. From Chaucer’s Pardoner to Eliot’s Edward Casaubon, from Behn’s Oroonoko to Woolf’s Clarissa Dalloway: the multifarious perceptions, inferences, memories, attitudes, and emotions of such characters are in some cases as vividly familiar to us readers as those of the living, breathing individuals we know from our own day-to-day experiences in the world at large. Equally diverse are the investigative frameworks that have been developed to study such fictional minds, their operations and qualities, and the narrative means used to portray them. The Emergence of Mind aims to provide new perspectives on the strategies used to represent minds in stories and to suggest the variety of analytic approaches that can help illuminate those methods of mind creation. More than this, the volume is the first of its kind: a collection of new essays by specialists in different literary periods who, using a range of research tools, examine trends in the representation of consciousness in English-language narrative discourse from 700 to the present. Taken together, these nine essays thus trace commonalities and contrasts in the presentation of consciousness over virtually the entire time span during which narrative dis-

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