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Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

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Agenzia Nazionale di Valutazione del Sistema Universitario e della Ricerca: Classe A

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Volume 2018, Issue 222


Sensory representation in literature

Frank Nuessel
Published Online: 2018-04-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2016-0200


The five senses (vision, audition, touch, olfaction, gustation) constitute the essence of our ability to interact with the external world and make sense of it. This contact is transmitted through various sensory organs and the information for each sense is transmitted to and translated in various parts of the brain. The anatomical and physiological aspects of this external-internal interface are complex. Likewise, the philosophical approaches to this world-body communication and comprehension involves at least two perspectives, namely, the rationalist viewpoint (perception is brain-determined) and empirical (perception is externally acquired). This essay discusses how creative writers re-create sensory experience in their texts. It will examine each of the five senses and the strategies employed by authors to stimulate and arouse memories of previous reader experience both synchronically and diachronically. Writer and reader co-create and co-participate in this process.

Keywords: the five senses; literature; reader response; sensory representation


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About the article

Published Online: 2018-04-25

Published in Print: 2018-04-25

Citation Information: Semiotica, Volume 2018, Issue 222, Pages 101–112, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2016-0200.

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