Literary Reading, Cognition and Emotion
An Exploration of the Oceanic Mind
Routledge – 2011 – 298 pages
This work seeks to chart what happens in the embodied minds of engaged readers when they read literature. Despite the recent stylistic, linguistic, and cognitive advances that have been made in text-processing methodology and practice, very little is known about this cultural-cognitive process and especially about the role that emotion plays. Burk’s theoretical and empirical study focuses on three central issues: the role emotions play in a core cognitive event like literary text processing; the kinds of bottom-up and top-down inputs most prominently involved in the literary reading process; and what might be happening in the minds and bodies of engaged readers when they experience intense or heightened emotions: a phenomenon sometimes labelled "reader epiphany." This study postulates that there is a free-flow of bottom-up and top-down affective, cognitive inputs during the engaged act of literary reading, and that reading does not necessarily begin or end when our eyes apprehend the words on the page. Burke argues that the literary reading human mind might best be considered both figuratively and literally, not as computational or mechanical, but as oceanic.
List of Figures and Tables Acknowledgments 1: The Secret Lives of Reading and Remembering 2: Seeing, Thinking and Feeling 3: Literary Reading-induced Mental Imagery 4: Reading Moods and Reading Places 5: The Affective Nature of Literary Themes 6: From Style on the Page to Style in the Mind 7: Towards a Model of Emotion in Literary Reading 8: Literary Closure and Reader Epiphany 9: Reading the Closing Lines of The Great Gatsby 10: A Cognitive Stylistic Analysis of the The Great Gatsby at Closure 11: Disportation Notes Bibliography Index
Michael Burke is the Head of the Academic Core Department and is Associate Professor of Rhetoric, Pedagogy and English at the Roosevelt Academy Middelburg (Utrecht University). His publications include Contextualised Stylistics (with Stockwell and Bex).