The Emergence of Mind
Representations of Consciousness in Narrative Discourse in English
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Nebraska Press
Series: Frontiers of Narrative
Table of Contents
As noted in the introduction, this volume is the first of its kind: namely, a collection of new essays by specialists in different literary periods who examine trends in the representation of consciousness in English-language narrative discourse from around 700 to the present. Because...
In her foundational 1978 study of strategies for representing consciousness in narrative fi ction, 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...
Part I: Representing Minds in Old and Middle English Narrative
1. 700–1050: Embodiment, Metaphor, and the Mind in Old English Narrative
Old English narratives habitually represent the mind as a material entity, residing in the chest cavity and subject to thermal and spatial changes that correspond to changing mental states. For example, in the poetic dialogue Solomon and Saturn, one of the interlocutors describes what happens to his mind (hige)...
2. 1050–1500: Through a Glass Darkly; or, the Emergence of Mind in Medieval Narrative
The representation of consciousness in medieval literature is an underexplored area of narratological research. Partly, this is the result of a general failure of classical narratology to engage with of the novel). Partly, too, the neglect of this issue stems from a general belief that the representation of consciousness does not ...
Part II: Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Minds
3. 1500–1620: Reading, Consciousness, and Romance in the Sixteenth Century
Between the late fifteenth and early seventeenth centuries in England, the concept of human consciousness became increasingly linked to the question of what goes on inside the human head. The early modern minde — seat of reason, soul, will, and even passion — had long been known to be connected corporeally to the braine, although...
4. 1620–1700: Mind on the Move
In the study of narrative discourse, the period 1620–1700 should be seen as a threshold because it immediately precedes the rise English. Usually considered to have emerged as a distinct genre in the mid-eighteenth century, the novel developed out of several different literary forms widely used in the seventeenth. Some of ...
Part III: Contexts for Consciousness in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
5. 1700–1775: Theory of Mind, Social Hierarchy, and the Emergence of Narrative Subjectivity
A peculiar sideline scenario plays itself out obsessively in one to an apparently impoverished stranger’s plea for assistance while being closely watched by an interested observer, such as a secret admirer, a parent, or a friend. For example, Laurence Sterne’s A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy (1768) opens with ...
6. 1775–1825: Affective Landscapes and Romantic Consciousness
In this chapter I will argue that the most distinctive aspect of tive is its expression of subjectivity through metaphorical spaces (whether in the form of landscape, architecture, or the visionary space of dreams), which differ fundamentally from the quasi-literal landscapes of eighteenth- or nineteenth-century realism. Rather ...
7. 1825–1880: The Network of Nerves
Is there an ur-scene of the Victorian depiction of consciousness? One could do worse than begin with one of the Victorian novel’s most famously shocking moments: Walter Hartright, one of the central narrators of Wilkie Collins’s 1859–60 The Woman in White, meeting the eponymous apparition on a moonlit Hampstead...
Part IV: Remodeling the Mind in Modernist and Postmodernist Narrative
8. 1880–1945: Re-minding Modernism
For many historians and theorists of the novel, the modernist novel marked (for better or worse) a turning point in the development of methods for representing fictional minds. For these commentators, despite their surface differences modernist authors shared a common project: the project of...
9. 1945–: Ontologies of Consciousness
This chapter draws on four case studies in order to examine some of the techniques of consciousness representation present in fiction in the British Isles from 1940 to the present day. They are Evelyn Waugh’s Men at Arms (1952), Martin Amis’s Success (1978), Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman (written in 1940 but not published...