Saturday, April 3, 2010

Literary scholarship + science?

A match made in....? Decide for yourselves here (thanks to Pilar, Rideau and St Laurent Branches' book club maven, for the link).

"[The] layered process of figuring out what someone else is thinking — of mind reading — is both a common literary device and an essential survival skill. Why human beings are equipped with this capacity and what particular brain functions enable them to do it are questions that have occupied primarily cognitive psychologists. Now English professors and graduate students are asking them too. They say they’re convinced science not only offers unexpected insights into individual texts, but that it may help to answer fundamental questions about literature’s very existence: Why do we read fiction? Why do we care so passionately about nonexistent characters? What underlying mental processes are activated when we read?"

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