Kafka’s Cognitive Realism

By Emily Troscianko

© 2013 – Routledge

260 pages | 14 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780415640671
pub: 2014-02-13
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About the Book

This book uses insights from the cognitive sciences to illuminate Kafka’s poetics, exemplifying a paradigm for literary studies in which cognitive-scientific insights are brought to bear directly on literary texts. The volume shows that the concept of "cognitive realism" can be a critically productive framework for exploring how textual evocations of cognition correspond to or diverge from cognitive realities, and how this may affect real readers. In particular, it argues that Kafka’s evocations of visual perception (including narrative perspective) and emotion can be understood as fundamentally enactive, and that in this sense they are "cognitively realistic". These cognitively realistic qualities are likely to establish a compellingly direct connection with the reader’s imagination, but because they contradict folk-psychological assumptions about how our minds work, they may also leave the reader unsettled. This is the first time a fully interdisciplinary research paradigm has been used to explore a single author’s fictional works in depth, opening up avenues for future research in cognitive literary science.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Cognitive Realism, Kafka, and Literary Theory 1. Perception without Pictures 2. Re-Envisioning the Imagination 3. Kafka’s Poetics of Perception in Der Proceß 4.Feeling From New Perspectives Conclusion: Cognitive Realism in Kafka and Beyond

About the Author

Emily T. Troscianko is Junior Research Fellow in Modern Languages at St John's College, University of Oxford, UK. Recent publications include "The Cognitive Realism of Memory in Flaubert’s Madame Bovary" (Modern Language Review 107 (2012): 772-95) and "Cognitive Realism and Memory in Proust’s Madeleine Episode" (Memory Studies, OnlineFirst 2013).

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Rhetoric and Stylistics

Routledge Studies in Rhetoric and Stylistics offers original, dynamic academic investigations into the related fields of rhetoric and stylistics. Books will focus on rhetorical or stylistic approaches to pedagogy, cognition, emotion, corpora, and multimodality, incorporating analytic studies conducted on the synchronic and/or diachronic discourses of literature, politics, law, news, advertisements, business, academe, and other subjects. This exciting series offers an innovative and challenging range of texts, providing rich resources for students and researchers alike.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAN000000
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / General
LAN009000
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
LIT000000
LITERARY CRITICISM / General
PSY008000
PSYCHOLOGY / Cognitive Psychology