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Cognitive poetics for linguists

Peter Stockwell  (Nottingham University)
Thursday, May 17th 

The development of cognitive poetics as a form of application of cognitive science to literary scholarship has emerged as an interdisciplinary field, with research and methods drawn from neuroscience and evolutionary biology, cognitive psychology and cognitive linguistics. For the most part, the direction of influence has been one-way, with relatively little evidence that the work being done on literary reading effects has worked its way back to these source disciplines. In particular, cognitive poetics in the European tradition has drawn more on cognitive psychology than on cognitive linguistics, which is perhaps surprising given its roots in textual stylistics. In this presentation, I argue for closer attention to be paid to linguistic matters in the cognitive tradition (particularly cognitive grammar), and hope to demonstrate that the unique environment of literary applications has a great deal of relevance to those working in non-literary linguistics. Ultimately, I will argue that cognitive poetics is becoming a central and unified single discipline, marking a reconfiguration of the study of language, literature and culture.

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