Why We Read Fiction: Theory of Mind and the Novel

Overview

Why We Read Fiction offers a lucid overview of the most exciting area of research in contemporary cognitive psychology known as "Theory of Mind" and discusses its implications for literary studies. It covers a broad range of fictional narratives, from Richardson's Clarissa, Dostoyevski's Crime and Punishment, and Austen's Pride and Prejudice to Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, Nabokov's Lolita, and Hammett's The Maltese Falcon. Zunshine's surprising new interpretations of well-known literary texts and popular cultural ...
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Overview

Why We Read Fiction offers a lucid overview of the most exciting area of research in contemporary cognitive psychology known as "Theory of Mind" and discusses its implications for literary studies. It covers a broad range of fictional narratives, from Richardson's Clarissa, Dostoyevski's Crime and Punishment, and Austen's Pride and Prejudice to Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, Nabokov's Lolita, and Hammett's The Maltese Falcon. Zunshine's surprising new interpretations of well-known literary texts and popular cultural representations constantly prod her readers to rethink their own interest in fictional narrative. Written for a general audience, this study provides a jargon-free introduction to the rapidly growing interdisciplinary field known as cognitive approaches to literature and culture.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814251515
  • Publisher: Ohio State University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Series: THEORY INTERPRETATION NARRATIV
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 198
  • Sales rank: 627,827
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Pt. I Attributing minds
1 Why did Peter Walsh tremble? 3
2 What is mind-reading (also known as theory of mind)? 6
3 Theory of mind, autism, and fiction : four caveats 10
4 "Effortless" mind reading 13
5 Why do we read fiction? 16
6 The novel as cognitive experiment 22
7 Can cognitive science tell us why we are afraid of Mrs. Dalloway? 27
8 The relationship between a "cognitive" analysis of Mrs. Dalloway and the larger field of literary studies 36
9 Woolf, Pinker, and the project of interdisciplinarity 40
Pt. II Tracking minds
1 Whose thought is it, anyway? 47
2 Metarepresentational ability and schizophrenia 54
3 Everyday failures of source-monitoring 58
4 Monitoring fictional states of mind 60
5 "Fiction" and "history" 65
6 Tracking minds in Beowulf 73
7 Don Quixote and his progeny 75
8 Source-monitoring, ToM, and the figure of the unreliable narrator 77
9 Source-monitoring and the implied author 79
10 Richardson's Clarissa : the progress of the elated bridegroom 82
11 Nabokov's Lolita : the deadly demon meets and destroys the tenderhearted boy 100
Pt. III Concealing minds
1 ToM and the detective novel : what does it take to suspect everybody? 121
2 Why is reading a detective story a lot like lifting weights at the gym? 123
3 Metarepresentationality and some recurrent patterns of the detective story 128
4 A cognitive evolutionary perspective : always historicize! 153
Conclusion : why do we read (and write) fiction?
1 Authors meet their readers 159
2 Is this why we read fiction? : surely, there is more to it! 162
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