Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction: The Sciences and Humanities Matter as One

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pp. 1-10

In 1959 when C. P. Snow famously declared the need for building bridges between “the two cultures” of the sciences and the humanities in order to make the world a better place, the impulse wasn’t so much ahead of the curve, but simply wrong. It wasn’t that in 1959 few knew how and where to build such bridges. ...

Part One. General and Theoretical Considerations

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Chapter One. Arts in the Brain; or, What Might Neuroscience Tell Us?

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pp. 13-36

Let’s start by revisiting what may well be the most debated passage in the history of literary criticism, Aristotle’s theory of catharsis as at once the goal and the pleasure of tragedy. The key lines appear early in the Poetics: “Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, ...

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Chapter Two. Narrative as Nourishment

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pp. 37-60

Tragedy arouses pity and fear, poetry teaches and delights, history keeps us from repeating our mistakes, and bedtime stories soothe drowsy children into sleep. Or do they? The first three claims have clearly expired, and now Elizabeth Kolbert tells us that many recent bedtime books for children seem to be about ...

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Chapter Three. Narrative Empathy

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pp. 61-94

We are living in a time when the activation of mirror neuron areas in the brains of onlookers can be recorded as they witness another’s actions and emotional reactions.1 Contemporary neuroscience has brought us much closer to an understanding of the neural basis for human mindreading and emotion-sharing abilities ...

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Chapter Four. The Biolinguistic Turn: Toward a New Semiotics of Film

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pp. 95-118

The current state of affairs in film analysis can be characterized as one of certain theoretical dispersion or even confusion. There does not seem to be a dominant paradigm for the interpretation and understanding of film and, furthermore, the pervasive view is that this state of affairs is probably desirable. ...

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Chapter Five. Voice and Perception: An Evolutionary Approach to the Basic Functions of Narrative

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pp. 119-140

The distinction of voice (who speaks?) and perception (who sees/hears/ smells?) (Genette 1986:186; 1988:64) can be said to be the egg of Columbus in Gérard Genette’s analysis of narrative discourse. Whereas in traditional models of literary narrative we had to deal with typologies mainly (for instance, of “narrative situations”; ...

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Chapter Six. Dreaming and Narrative Theory

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pp. 141-158

If it is a matter of common experience that there is something uncanny about dreams, this is more than usually true for narratologists. From a narrative point of view, dreaming in itself is both familiar and alien: on the one hand the virtuality of dream experience has long been invoked as the archetypal instance ...

Part Two. A Selection of New Approaches

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Chapter Seven. Cross-Cultural Mind-Reading; or, Coming to Terms with the Ethnic Mother in Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior

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pp. 161-178

The Chinese mother and American-born daughter in Maxine Hong Kingston’s memoir The Woman Warrior repeatedly misinterpret each other’s intentions. This occurs not only because of the psychological complications typical of mothers and daughters in most nuclear families, ...

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Chapter Eight. Theory of Mind and Michael Fried's Absorption and Theatricality: Notes toward Cognitive Historicism

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pp. 179-204

It is warm outside. Spring blossoms brush against the house. Leaning over the windowsill, propping his right hand with his left, a young man is blowing bubbles. Just now a particularly large bubble is trembling at the tip of his blowpipe.1 The man is holding his breath. ...

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Chapter Nine. Garden Paths and Ineffable Effects: Abandoning Representation in Literature and Film

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pp. 205-226

In Chapter Eight and elsewhere Lisa Zunshine has made a powerful case that fiction is no mere epiphenomenon of natural selection but a critical instrument in the maintenance and improvement of a key survival skill: reading the minds of others. In How the Mind Works, Stephen Pinker developed a contrasting take on the subject: ...

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Chapter Ten. Consciousness, Ethics, and Narrative: Reading Literature in an Age of Torture

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pp. 227-250

There is a scene in the third act of King Lear that may be particularly resonant to American readers today. Cornwall has received intelligence reporting that the armies of France have landed in England and that the former king and the Earl of Gloucester are collaborating in this invasion. ...

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Chapter Eleven. Prophesying with Accents Terrible: Emotion and Appraisal in Macbeth

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pp. 251-280

Macbeth offers cognitive theory of emotion a unique opportunity for interdisciplinary crossover because within the experimental framework of emotion research, appraisal theory relies mostly on information about goals and plans of real people in real-life settings. In this play, the goals and the means adopted to attain these goals ...

Glossary

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pp. 281-284

Bibliography

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pp. 285-312

Contributors

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pp. 313-316

Index

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pp. 317-328