Abstract

This article proposes a cognitive approach to narrative that moves away from a "representational" paradigm – one concerned with exploring the fictionalized representation of conscious experience – to a conceptualist paradigm – one concerned with the functional organization of the mental structures that underlie our ability to comprehend a narrative in the first place. Stated blandly, my argument is that literary narratologists in particular need to jettison the remnants of traditional criticism that conceives of narrative in the form of a mimetic textual artifact and to adopt a method that systematically explicates the explicitly mental structures than underlie narrative comprehension. What kinds of categories, distinctions, and relations must be realized in the mind-brain in order to effect narrative comprehension? I suggest that this emphasis upon what we can characterize as the "content" of the mental structures that underlie narrative comprehension (rather the content of the narrative text) offers a paradigm for narratological research that respects the need for both disciplinary specialization and interdisciplinary collaboration.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-9247
Print ISSN
1565-3668
Pages
pp. 323-345
Launched on MUSE
2008-06-21
Open Access
No
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