Introducing a special issue on neuroscience and modern fiction, this essay surveys current work on literature and brain research, outlining the issue’s structure and guiding philosophy. To map out what is at stake in such readings, the introduction offers a sustained reading of Don DeLillo’s Ratner’s Star, placing it into a larger social and historical context that reveals its extensive engagement with (often popular) neuroscientific source material. This reading provides an entry point into a consideration of the asymmetrical historical distribution of cognitive literary studies, especially their comparative neglect of post-1900 fiction, and sets the scene for the essays that follow.


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