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Cognitive Poetics

Goals, Gains and Gaps

Edited by: Geert Brône and Jeroen Vandaele
For more than two decades now, cognitive science has been making overtures to literature and literary studies. Only recently, however, cognitive linguistics and poetics seem to be moving towards a more serious and reciprocal type of interdisciplinarity. In coupling cognitive linguistics and poetics, cognitive poeticians aim to offer cognitive readings of literary texts and formulate specific hypotheses concerning the relationship between aesthetic meaning effects and patterns in the cognitive construal and processing of literary texts. One of the basic assumptions of the endeavour is that some of the key topics in poetics (such as the construction of text worlds, characterization, narrative perspective, distancing discourse, etc.) may be fruitfully approached by applying cognitive linguistic concepts and insights (such as embodied cognition, metaphor, mental spaces, iconicity, construction grammar, figure/ground alignment, etc.), in an attempt to support, enrich or adjust ‘traditional’ poetic analysis. Conversely, the tradition of poetics may support, frame or call into question insights form cognitive linguistics. In order to capture the goals, gains and gaps of this rapidly growing interdisciplinary field of research, this volume brings together some of the key players and critics of cognitive poetics. The eleven chapters are grouped into four major sections, each dealing with central concerns of the field: (i) the cognitive mechanisms, discursive means and mental products related to narrativity (Semino, Herman, Culpeper); (ii) the different incarnations of the concept of figure in cognitive poetics (Freeman, Steen, Tsur); (iii) the procedures that are meant to express or create discursive attitudes, like humour, irony or distance in general (Antonopoulou and Nikiforidou, Dancygier and Vandelanotte, Giora et al.); and (iv) a critical assessment of the current state of affairs in cognitive poetics, and more specifically the incorporation of insights from cognitive linguistics as only one of the contributing fields in the interdisciplinary conglomerate of cognitive science (Louwerse and Van Peer, Sternberg).The ensuing dialogue between cognitive and literary partners, as well as between advocates and opponents, is promoted through the use of short response articles included after ten chapters of the volume. Geert Brône, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium; Jeroen Vandaele, University of Oslo, Norway.

Author Information

Geert Brône, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium; Jeroen Vandaele, University of Oslo, Norway.


"Along with a willingness to change one’s mind in the face of contrary evidence, another defining characteristic of stylistics is rigour, a quality demonstrated throughout the volume. [...] the volume as a whole is characterized by openness and a willingness to engage in genuine debate, which is refreshing and to be welcomed."Dan McIntyre in: Language and Literature 2010 19: 396 "To those involved in CL and CP, this book is a must read and frames the research agenda as it stands at the present moment. There is no doubt that the next several years of CP research will have to answer to the gains, gaps, and goals identified in this collection."Liberty Kohn in: Journal of Literary Semantics 39/2010 "[...] provocative and inspiringfor future work in the field."Sara Whiteley in: Pragmatics and Cognition 18:1/2010
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Audience: Researchers and Advanced Students of Cognitive Linguistics and its Applications; Research Libraries