Gaps in Nature: Literary Interpretation and the Modular Mind

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SUNY Press, Jul 1, 1993 - Literary Criticism - 247 pages
This book is a study of the relation between cognitive linguistics and literary theory. Theory of literary interpretation is reinterpreted in terms of current debate in cognitive science. While research in the humanities and social sciences is reasonably concerned with charting the power of culture to structure and constrain, Spolsky suggests that it is worthwhile to investigate the role of biological materialism as co-legislator of human life and understanding. The inevitable slippage we have come to acknowledge between words and the world has at least an analogue, and presumably also a source, in the workings of the human brain.
 

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Contents

Minds Modules and Models
19
The earliest and strongest version of the modularity hypothesis
20
Jackendoffs modularity theory
23
The visual and the language modules
26
Gardners modularity theory
30
The crucial recognition of failure
31
Parallel distributed processing models
32
Edelmans Neural Darwinism
34
Advantages and risks of multiple coding
127
Immobile and Immortal in the Monument of Literary History
133
The conservatism of the experienced reader
147
The link between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance
148
Spearings dignity conditions and alterity conditions
150
The Bloom connection
153
Writing Literary History Neoclassicism Modularity and the New Histories
159
Viewercentered and objectcentered understanding
161

Dennetts gappy consciousness
37
Summing up and hedging
39
New Genres American Autobiography
43
Western American autobiography
47
The category fits the time
54
New Inferences Reading Hamlet and the Politics of Genre
61
Resisting genre
67
Categorization and inference
73
Women readers and womens rules
83
Fetterleys reading and Fetterleys rule
84
Gilberts reading without Fetterleys rule
93
Leaving room for the improbable
104
Intermodular Competition Transformation and Inference
111
Metaphor and vision
116
Preference rules
120
Speakercentered vs public language
165
Interaction of the objectcentered and the viewercentered
172
Leaving space for the other
174
New historical criticism
177
Listening to others
184
The Dynamic of Freedom and Compulsion
191
The inevitability of contradiction
194
A summary of the possibilities for change in the modular mind
201
Building culture into the survival of the species
204
Resisting reading
205
Notes
209
References
221
Index
241
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About the author (1993)

Ellen Spolsky is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Lechter Institute for Literary Research at Bar-Ilan University, Israel.

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