College Literature

College Literature
33.1, Winter 2006
Special Issue: Cognitive Shakespeare: Criticism and Theory in the Age of Neuroscience
Guest Editors: Patrick Colm Hogan and Lalita Pandit

CONTENTS

    Pandit, Lalita.
    Hogan, Patrick Colm.
  • Introduction: Morsels and Modules: On Embodying Cognition in Shakespeare's Plays
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    Subject Headings:
    • Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Criticism and interpretation.
    • Literature -- History and criticism -- Theory, etc.
    • Cognitive science.

Theorizing Cognition: Understanding Shakespearean Patterns

    Oatley, Keith.
  • Simulation of Substance and Shadow: Inner Emotions and Outer Behavior in Shakespeare's Psychology of Character
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    Subject Headings:
    • Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Criticism and interpretation.
    • Emotions in literature.
    • Character in literature.
    Abstract:
      Although in post-modern discourse doubt has been thrown on the value of ideas of emotions and character, I argue in this paper that a cognitive approach to Shakespeare enables us to see these matters a comprehensible way. Plays such as those of Shakespeare are simulations that run on minds. As we run one of these simulations we take on the goals of a protagonist, and run his or her plans—as depicted in the play—on our own cognitive system. Because of the suggestiveness, which Eastern literary theorists have called dhvani, of Shakespeare's work, his plays enable us to explore not just understandings of others, but of ourselves. Shakepeare's poetry along with processes such as empathetic identification, invoke our own memories and emotions in relation to contexts that the plays offer. Although plays are artificial, in running them as simulations they enable us to understand in ourselves, and also in others, more of the real relations between substance (inner goals and experience) and shadow (outer behavior) than is often possible in ordinary life.
    Hogan, Patrick Colm.
  • Narrative Universals, Heroic Tragi-Comedy, and Shakespeare's Political Ambivalence
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    Subject Headings:
    • Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Criticism and interpretation.
    • Narration (Rhetoric)
    • Tragicomedy.
    Abstract:
      Heroic tragi-comedy is one of the three most common narrative prototypes cross-culturally. Particular works are generated from this prototype through development principles and motifs. The development principles and motifs recur cross-culturally as well. Moreover, the resulting works tend to serve the same social functions at different times and places—commonly, enhancing in-group identification and opposition to an out-group, especially in the context of war. On the other hand, the prototypes, development principles, and motifs are cognitive structures, not Platonic forms. Thus there is some individual variation in their details, interaction, and functional consequences. The present essay examines five of Shakespeare's plays—Henry V, Julius Caesar, Richard II, Hamlet, and The Tempest. The goal of this examination is to isolate the central features of Shakespeare's distinctive use of the heroic structure, his favored development principles and motifs, and, most importantly, the recurring functional implications of his plays. The result tells us something about the body of Shakespeare's work and about the precise way a human mind operates in the creation of literature. It also has interpretive consequences, for it puts the individual plays in a new context and thus reveals new aspects of their narrative organization and thematic concerns.
    Wehrs, Donald R.
  • Moral Physiology, Ethical Prototypes, and the Denaturing of Sense in Shakespearean Tragedy
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    Subject Headings:
    • Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Criticism and interpretation.
    • Ethics in literature.
    • Tragedy.
    Abstract:
      Shakespearean tragedy explores patterns of feeling and thought that lock characters into asocial consistencies, preventing affective intuitions from modifying self-understanding and judgment in the ways that both early modern moral physiology, as popularized by Erasmus, and current neuroscience suggest ethical sense and practical reasoning require. Blocking "dialogue" between body and discourse, such consistencies induce characters to lapse into what Wilma Bucci describes as "dissociation": either bodily experience disconnects from symbolic representation, or an "emotional schema" activated in "core consciousness," cannot be integrated into "extended consciousness." In Julius Caesar, Brutus's Stoic deprecation of the emotions prevents him from appreciating how embodiment opens memory to affective, prototypic imagery in ways that will guide how the ethical significance of Caesar's body will be grasped' in Hamlet, nature revenges itself upon the dissociation of cognition, and thus identity, from somatic ethical responsiveness that the "rottenness" of the new order of Denmark seeks to effect.

Historicizing Cognition: Interpreting Individual Plays

    Pandit, Lalita.
  • Emotion, Perception and Anagnorisis in The Comedy of Errors: A Cognitive Perspective
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    Subject Headings:
    • Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Comedy of errors.
    • Emotions in literature.
    • Perception in literature.
    Abstract:
      The following discussion of Comedy of Errors draws on insights and models of analysis derived from the appraisal theory of emotion, the most important among cognitive theories of emotion. Emotions and action outcomes in this play are explicitly caused by evaluation of situations arising from mistaken identities of two sets of twins. These evaluations and subsequent actions, though based on misconstrued visual information, alter people's personal and social realities. Clearly, the play foregrounds appraisal as a principle guiding elicitation of emotion. The first section of the following discussion provides an introduction to relevant concepts derived from appraisal theory and cognitive poetics. Section two draws attention to Aristotle's idea of Anagnorisis and Agnoia, inviting a look at structures of recognition and reversal from a cognitive perspective. The remaining sections focus on patterns of appraisal in relation to elicitation and thematization of emotion in The Comedy of Errors.
    Moschovakis, Nicholas Rand, 1969-
  • Topicality And Conceptual Blending: Titus Andronicus and The Case of William Hacket
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    Subject Headings:
    • Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Titus Andronicus.
    • Hacket, William, d. 1591 -- Allusions.
    Abstract:
      In this essay, which combines historicism and cognitive criticism, I identify a previously unnoticed topical allusion in Titus Andronicus; the allusion then serves as my illustrative case-study in a cognitive account of topicality. As a historicist, I present evidence suggesting the probable topical intentions and reception of two passages from Titus. As a cognitivist, I analyze my account in terms of conceptual blending theory. Shakespeareans stand to gain by understanding topical identifications, in the minds of authors and of their audiences, as conceptual blends. Such a cognitive historicism would explain how audiences can partly infer an author's probable intentions, as well as how critics, by studying historical records with attention to cultural and individual circumstances of cognition, can partially reconstruct a work's probable reception(s) in the minds of a given audience. Finally, conceptual blending theory reveals the metaphoricity of topical identities, and hence their aesthetic novelty, which critics have neglected.
    Tribble, Evelyn B.
  • "The Dark Backward and Abysm of Time": The Tempest and Memory
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    Subject Headings:
    • Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Tempest.
    • Memory in literature.
    Abstract:
      This essay examines The Tempest in light of models of memory derived from cognitive psychology, sociology, and philosophy, placed within the context of early modern debates about the nature and locus of memory. In The Tempest, Shakespeare stages profound tensions between an individualist, faculty-based model of memory in which the mind is figured as a "cell" bounded by a monodic subject, and the constant threats to such order and control on the part of other minds represented in the play. Attention to the tensions between control and disorder in memory, allows us to understand three critical cruces of the play: 1) Prospero's apparently unmotivated demand for Miranda's attention during the exposition of 1.2; 2) the destruction of the masque by a moment of forgetting, and the subsequent agitation caused; 3) the play's own apparent amnesia about the founding narrative recounted by Prospero, as Alonso increasingly displaces Antonio as the play goes on.

Using Cognition: Performing and Adapting Shakespeare Today

    Tsur, Reuven.
  • Delivery Style and Listener Response in the Rhythmical Performance of Shakespeare's Sonnets
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    Subject Headings:
    • Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Sonnets. No. 129.
    • Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Versification.
    • Oral interpretation of poetry.
    Abstract:
      This article is an inquiry into the aesthetic event of the rhythmical performance of poetry. This event typically contains a reciter, a poetic text, and a listener (though the reciter himself may be the listener too). Poetic rhythm is accessible only through some kind of performance, vocalized or silent. Rhythmical performance is not a unitary phenomenon; one must distinguish between various delivery styles. The article aspires to give a fairly comprehensive description of the aesthetic event under discussion. A pilot experiment suggests that apparently incompatible responses to the same delivery instance may result from the listeners' realization of different subsets of aspects of the same event. They may, therefore, be meaningfully discussed and compared. My assumption is that rhythmical performance and delivery style are determined by the poem's metric structure, the performer's aesthetic conceptions and vocal resources, and the constraints of the cognitive system. I will concentrate on small-scale computer-aided analyses and comparisons of performances by leading British actors. Consequently, I will focus my discussion on recordings of only one line, the last line of Sonnet 129, from commercially-available recordings.
    Aldama, Frederick Luis, 1969-
  • Race, Cognition, and Emotion: Shakespeare on Film
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    Subject Headings:
    • Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Film and video adaptations.
    • Race in motion pictures.
    • Minorities in motion pictures.
    Abstract:
      This article examines four Shakespearean film adaptations from the point of view of four directors' perceptions of race and ethnicity, and the reactions they seek to elicit in their audiences. In applying the tools developed by cognitive neuroscience and narratology the paper explores how Oliver Parker's Othello, Tim Blake Nelson's O, James Gavin Bedford's Street King, and Uli Edel's King of Texas variously use the generic codes and conventions of contemporary cinema—time, language, imagery, sound, perspective, and editing—to prime, cue, and trigger a number of determinate cognitive and emotive responses in their audiences. It also explores how these directors stylistically and thematically retool such cinematic conventions not only to creatively reshape Shakespeare's stories, but to do so in ways that complicate their audience's cognitive and emotive scripts of ethnic identity and experience.

Review Essays

    Plantinga, Carl R.
  • Cognitive Theory in Film Studies: Three Recent Books
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    Subject Headings:
    • Carroll, Noël, 1947- Engaging the moving image.
    • Smith, Greg M., 1962- Film structure and the emotion system.
    • Persson, Per, 1970- Understanding cinema: a psychological theory of moving imagery.
    • Motion pictures -- Philosophy.
    • Motion pictures -- Psychological aspects.
    Hart, F. Elizabeth (Faith Elizabeth), 1959-
  • The View of Where We've Been and Where We'd Like to Go
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    Subject Headings:
    • Stockwell, Peter. Cognitive poetics: an introduction.
    • Gavins, Joanna, ed. Cognitive poetics in practice.
    • Steen, Gerard, ed.
    • Fauconnier, Gilles. Way we think: conceptual blending and the mind's hidden complexities.
    • Turner, Mark, 1954-
    • Cognitive grammar.
    • Poetics.

Book Reviews

    Crane, Mary Thomas, 1956-
  • Reading the Early Modern Passions: Essays in the Cultural History of Emotion (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Paster, Gail Kern, ed. Reading the early modern passions: essays in the cultural history of emotion.
    • Rowe, Katherine, ed.
    • Floyd-Wilson, Mary, ed.
    • European literature -- Renaissance, 1450-1600 -- History and criticism.
    Rice, Claiborne.
  • Cognitive Science, Literature, and the Arts: A Guide for Humanists (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Hogan, Patrick Colm. Cognitive science, literature, and the arts: a guide for humanists.
    • Literature -- Philosophy.
    Aldama, Frederick Luis, 1969-
  • The Mind and Its Stories: Narrative Universals and Human Emotion (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Hogan, Patrick Colm. Mind and its stories: narrative universals and human emotion.
    • Narration (Rhetoric)

Appendix




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