Toward a Theory of Cognitive Poetics / Edition 2

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Overview

This book has three distinctive characteristics: 1 It offers a widely interdisciplinary perspective. 2 It provides a comprehensive view of poetry, with groups of chapters on the Sound Stratum of Poetry (rhyme patterns and gestalt theory; metre and rhythm; expressiveness and musicality of speech sounds); the Units-of-Meaning Stratum (semantic representation and information processing, metaphor, rhyme and meaning, literary synaesthesia); the World Stratum; Regulative Concepts (genre, period style, archetypal patterns); the Poetry of Orientation & Disorientation (experiential and mystic poetry versus poetry of emotional disorientation; and the grotesque); the Poetry of Altered States of Consciousness (hypnotic and ecstatic poetry); Critics and Criticism; and Cognitive Poetics vs. Cognitive Linguistics. 3 It goes into minute details of poetic texts, so as to account for subtle intuitions of readers. Updating from the first edition consists of samples from the author’s later instrumental study of the rhythmical performance of poetry and the expressiveness of speech sounds; and in three chapters responding to the later work of three cognitive linguists.

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 critic's 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 man's 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. By the same token, it discriminates which reported effects may legitimately be related to the structures in question and which may not.

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 thesame 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

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Cognitive poetics is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of literature employing the tools offered by cognitive science; it attempts to find out how poetic language and form, or the critic's decisions, are constrained and shaped by human information processing. The present approach uses cognitive theories to illuminate literature. It emphasizes the particular differences between cognitive processes in general and their unique exploitation for literary purposes; hence its generalizations are wide enough to be applicable to a great variety of literary works of art while, at the same time, they provide means to make meaningful distinctions between, or within, specific works of literature. The approach combines the tools of cognitive science with those of the more traditional disciplines of literary criticism, literary history, linguistics, and aesthetics. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
“In one of the founding studies of cognitive literary criticism, Tsur combines earlier theoretical approaches (such as Russian formalism) with methods from cognitive psychology and other fields within cognitive science, resulting in a capacious and suggestive survey of many aspects of literary form in light of their perceived effects on readers.”  —Literary Theory and Criticism: An Oxford Guide

“Tsur's cognitive poetics is of a more general kind than the one developed in relation to cognitive linguistics, as may be gleaned from his seminal overview Toward a Theory of Cognitive Poetics (Tsur 1992).”  —From the Introduction, in Joanna Gavins and Gerard Steen, Cognitive Poetics in Practice

“Tsur synthesizes his thinking over 25 years that led to the notion of cognitive poetics. He discusses such aspects as the sound stratum of poetry, regulative concepts, and poetry of altered states of consciousness. This edition includes responses to critics of the first edition.”  —Reference & Research Book News

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781845192556
  • Publisher: Sussex Academic Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2008
  • Edition description: Second Edition, Second expanded edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 684

Meet the Author

Reuven Tsur is Professor Emeritus of Hebrew Literature and Cognitive Poetics at Tel Aviv University, and Middle East vice president of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics. His books include “Kubla Khan” – Poetic Structure, Hypnotic Quality and Cognitive Style: A Study in Mental, Vocal, and Critical Performance; On The Shore of Nothingness: Space, Rhythm, and Semantic Structure in Religious Poetry and its Mystic-Secular Counterpart – A Study in Cognitive Poetics; and Poetic Rhythm: Structure and Performance – An Empirical Study in Cognitive Poetics.

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