Initiated in English speaking countries, in the last few years studies in cognitive poetics have increased and spread significantly. Many traditional issues of literary theory, such as the construction of text worlds, characterization, narrative focalization, the role of emotions in literary reading and the cognitive function of figures of speech, have been framed and approached within a cognitive perspective.
Concepts drawn from cognitive linguistics – such as embodied cognition and conceptual blending – have played a key role in research on cognitive poetics. However, new suggestions coming from cognitive psychology and the neurosciences – e.g. about the dynamics of emotions or mirror neurons – have become quite relevant to the debate. Recent neuroimaging studies on brain and language, in particular, might prove extremely interesting for cognitive poetics.
This variety of suggestions, views, and methodologies has certainly fostered the debate even in fields of literary theory and literary criticism usually grounded on solid principles and methods, such as narratology or stylistics. At the same time, a number of issues have been raised. Cognitive poetics, in particular, is criticized for being unable to generate important hermeneutic insights. Can we really integrate the empirical methods of the cognitive sciences with the hermeneutic processes, rooted in subjectivity, of literary criticism? And, on the other side, can cognitive poetics really seek empirical foundations and yet attain a deep understanding of literature?
«Enthymema» wishes to contribute to the research and the debate on cognitive poetics with a monographic section, edited by Stefano Calabrese and Stefano Ballerio and hosted on the June 2013 issue. We invite submissions from scholars working on cognitive poetics; particular attention will be paid to :
theoretical studies showing that a cognitive perspective can provide innovative insights in fields such as narrative theory, stylistics, or reader-response criticism;
essays in interpretation showing that a cognitive perspective can actually generate new and deep hermeneutic insights;
papers offering well-grounded criticism to the programme and results of cognitive poetics.
Contributions can be written in Italian, English, German or French and must be submitted to the journal, via its website, by May 1st 2013.
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