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Toward a Theory of Cognitive Poetics Reuven Tsur

Toward a Theory of Cognitive Poetics

Reuven Tsur

Published January 1st 1992
ISBN : 9780444889966
Unknown Binding
586 pages
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 About the Book 

Cognitive poetics is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of literature employing the tools offered by cognitive science. Cognitive science is an umbrella term covering the various disciplines that investigate human information processing: cognitive psychology, psycholinguistics, artificial intelligence and certain branches of linguistics and of the philosophy of science. These explore the psychological processes involved in the acquisition, organization and use of knowledge- in fact, in all information processing activities of the brain, ranging from the analysis of immediate stimuli to the organization of subjective experience. Cognitive poetics explores the possible contributions of cognitive science to poetics: it attempts to find out how poetic language and form, or the critics decisions, are constrained and shaped by human information processing. It assumes that in the response to poetry, cognitive devices that were initially acquired for survival in mans physical and social environment, are turned to aesthetic ends. It offers cognitive theories that systematically account for the relationship between the structure of literary texts and their perceived effects.This book uses cognitive theories to illuminate literature rather than use works of literature to illustrate cognitive theories. It emphasizes the particular differences between cognitive processes in general and their unique exploitation for literary purposes- its generalizations are wide enough to be applicable to a great variety of literary works of art, while at the same time, it provides means to make meaningful distinctions between, or within, specific works of literature. Such an approach requires the combination of the tools of cognitive science with those of the more traditional disciplines of literary criticism, literary history, linguistics and aesthetics. An important task of cognitive poetics is to explore the possibilities and limitations of such combinations. This book attempts to illuminate the cognitive aspects of poetic structure on a wide variety of strata and from a wide variety of angles: the sound stratum of poetry, the units of meaning stratum and the world stratum- literary history- period style- stylistic typology- genre- archetypal patterns- aesthetic qualities- poetry and altered states of consciousness.