Peter Verdonk. A cognitive poetic reading of rhetorical patterns: The literary critical controversy about Ted Hughes’s ‘Hawk Roosting’
Keith Oatley. Such stuff as dreams: The psychology of fiction
Charles Forceville. Stylistics in comics: pictorial runes
Rob Pope. Extreme English – the art of pushing limits
Michaela Mahlberg. Corpus stylistics and textual analysis
Gerard Steen. How to do things with M-words:Metaphor in cognitive linguistics, discourse analysis, systemic-functional grammar, and relevance theory.
Here is the abstract for my talk.
Although Aristotle’s Poetics combined literary theory and psychology, these two aspects have not always been close in our understanding of fiction. I make a case that they should be integrated. Although one meaning of Aristotle’s term mimesis is imitation, the primary meaning in Poetics is world-making, or imaginative construction, which is equivalent to the modern cognitive sense of simulation. Shakespeare called it “dream.” With this idea, a question for the Art of Stylistics is how can an author enable this kind of simulation or dream in the reader? I present a theory of fiction as simulation of selves in the social world. I show how fictional simulations run on our minds so that we are moved by them, so that emotions occur: not the characters’ emotions, but our own. I report some new empirical findings. Just as we expect someone who learns to pilot a plane to benefit from time spent in a flight simulator, so we expect people who read a lot of fiction to develop better theory of mind and empathy. Recent studies by our research group (Maja Djikic, Raymond Mar, & Keith Oatley, see www.onfiction.ca) have shown such effects. We have also found that people who read a short story by Chekhov (as compared with people who read a text in a non-fictional format with the same information, the same reading difficulty, and same level of interest) changed their personalities in individual ways.I am very grateful to be invited to this conference. I think it shows that interest in the psychology of fiction is growing. Preparing the talk enables me, moreover, to develop some ideas, two of which I aim to post on this site during the next two weeks.