Speaking Pictures: Neuropsychoanalysis and Authorship in Film and Literature

Speaking Pictures: Neuropsychoanalysis and Authorship in Film and Literature

Speaking Pictures: Neuropsychoanalysis and Authorship in Film and Literature

Speaking Pictures: Neuropsychoanalysis and Authorship in Film and Literature

Synopsis

Alistair Fox presents a theory of literary and cinematic representation through the lens of neurological and cognitive science in order to understand the origins of storytelling and our desire for fictional worlds. Fox contends that fiction is deeply shaped by emotions and the human capacity for metaphorical thought. Literary and moving images bridge emotional response with the cognitive side of the brain. In a radical move to link the neurosciences with psychoanalysis, Fox foregrounds the interpretive experience as a way to reach personal emotional equilibrium by working through autobiographical issues within a fictive form.

Excerpt

Throughout history, men and women have felt a need to represent their experience in images and to arrange those images in patterns that tell stories. Before the invention of writing, our ancestors transmitted stories orally from one generation to the next, and once people learned how to record words with written phonemic symbols, writing itself became a medium through which these stories could be conceived. Storytelling took a further leap forward with the invention of moving pictures, following the Lumière Brothers’ public demonstration of their cinématographe in Paris in 1895, and it advanced still further with the introduction of “talkies.” Today, using digital technology, people are consuming fiction to a greater extent than ever before: in the form of Hollywood special-effects blockbusters and genre films; in a plethora of television dramas and miniseries; in an unending stream of works of popular literature, ranging from chick lit through crime fiction to historical epics; in the films produced by a multitude of national cinemas; in videogames; and in cartoon strips and animated features.

The ubiquity of various forms of fictive representation and thethe mid-nineteenth-century poet Matthew Arnold, for whom the purpose of fiction was to “inspirit and . . .

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