The Neural Sublime: Cognitive Theories and Romantic Texts

The Neural Sublime: Cognitive Theories and Romantic Texts

by Alan Richardson

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Overview

The Neural Sublime brings recent work in cognitive neuroscience to bear on some famously vexed issues in British Romantic studies. In exciting and unprecedented ways, Alan Richardson demonstrates how developments in the neurosciences can transform the study of literary history.

Richardson presents six exemplary studies, each exploring a different intersection of Romanticism and the sciences of the mind and brain: the experience of the sublime and the neuroscience of illusion; the Romantic imagination and visual imaging; the figure of apostrophe and linguistic theory; fictional representations of the mind and "theory of mind" theory; depictions of sibling incest and neo-Darwinian theories of mental behavior; and representations of female speech and cognitive developmental psychology.

Richardson’s insightful analysis opens fresh perspectives on British Romanticism, pointing scholars to new developments in cognitive literary studies. He combines elements of new historicist analysis with original—and much-needed—models for understanding language, subjectivity, and social behavior. Far from signaling a departure from the prevalent critical approaches of new historicism, Richardson argues, cognitive theory presents an essential complement to them.

The Neural Sublime features an array of cognitive and neuroscientific approaches, providing an engaging and readable introduction to the emergent field of cognitive literary studies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801894534
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 06/15/2010
Pages: 200
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Alan Richardson is a professor of English at Boston College, author of British Romanticism and the Science of the Mind, and coeditor of The Work of Fiction: Cognition, Culture, and Complexity.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 Introdution: Cognitive Historicism 1

2 The Neural Sublime 17

3 The Romantic Image, the Mind's Eye, and the History of the Senses 38

4 Romantic Apostrophe: Everyday Discourse, Overhearing, and Poetic Address 58

5 Reading Minds-and Bodies-in Emma 79

6 Romantic Incest: Literary Representation and the Biology of Mind 97

7 Language Strange: Motherese, the Semiotic, and Romantic Poetry 116

Notes 139

Works Cited 161

Index 175

What People are Saying About This

"Alan Richardson is an acknowledged pioneer in cognitive approaches to literature. His command of Romantic literature, the history of ideas of the Romantic era, and contemporary cognitive research is authoritative. In The Neural Sublime, he expands on his previous groundbreaking work in cognitive historicism by applying contemporary neuroscience to Romantic-era works."

Nancy Easterlin

Alan Richardson is an acknowledged pioneer in cognitive approaches to literature. His command of Romantic literature, the history of ideas of the Romantic era, and contemporary cognitive research is authoritative. In The Neural Sublime, he expands on his previous groundbreaking work in cognitive historicism by applying contemporary neuroscience to Romantic-era works.

Nancy Easterlin, University of New Orleans

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