Toward a Cognitive Theory of Narrative Acts brings together in one volume cutting-edge research that turns to recent findings in cognitive and neurobiological sciences, psychology, linguistics, philosophy, and evolutionary biology, among other disciplines, to explore and understand more deeply various cultural phenomena, including art, music, literature, and film. The essays fulfilling this task for the general listener as well as the specialist are written by renowned authors H. Porter Abbott, Patrick Colm Hogan, Suzanne Keen, Herbert Lindenberger, Lisa Zunshine, Katja Mellman, Lalita Pandit Hogan, Klarina Priborkin, Javier Gutiérrez-Rexach, Ellen Spolsky, and Richard Walsh. Among the works analyzed are plays by Samuel Beckett, novels by Maxine Hong Kingston, music compositions by Igor Stravinsky, art by Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin, and films by Michael Haneke.
Each of the essays shows in a systematic, clear, and precise way how music, art, literature, and film work in and of themselves and also how they are interconnected. Finally, while each of the essays is unique in style and methodological approach, together they show the way toward a unified knowledge of artistic creativity.
“This exciting collection attests to the range and sophistication of current cognitive-evolutionary studies in narrative. Exploring the relation between narrative and topics including empathy, dream, torture and ethics, theory of mind, and emotional change, each essay demonstrates a thorough knowledge of the secondary discipline it brings to bear on narrative art." (Nancy Easterlin, University of New Orleans)
"Focused on the universal human capacity for narrative, Frederick Aldama's Toward a Cognitive Theory of Narrative Acts boldly stakes out a common space of knowledge at the intersection of the natural and social sciences and the humanities. The essays by leading cognitive critics provide important insights into the motivations and workings of narrative from Aristotle to contemporary film." (Mary Thomas Crane, Boston College)
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