Neuro Humanities Studies

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Grazia Pulvirenti, Renata Gambino, The paradox of Romantic ekphrasis. Metacritic discourse, perception and imagination in art descripti

Ekphrasis is a text genre based on the intertwining of visual and verbal features, involving the processes of both reading, and priming a visual image or a related action. We argue in this study that...

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David S. Miall, Don Kuiken,

Shifting Perspectives: Readers' Feelings and Literary Response

Source: W. Van Peer & S. Chatman,
Year: 2000

Download size: 150.69 KB
Empirical studies of readers' responses to narrative have typically been concerned with the influence of story factors such as those modeled in story grammars or discourse analysis. Such models have shown the influence of propositional complexity, narrative structure, and various aspects of plot. However, in a recent paper (Miall and Kuiken, 1994a), we argued that the findings from non-literary texts could not readily be generalized to the reading of literary stories, since the narratives studied tend to lack the multi-leveled complexity of literary stories. Literary texts contain distinctive features, such as foregrounding, that appeal to the predilections of individual readers and demonstrably influence their response.Thus, reading processes are likely to vary from one reader to another more significantly than the cognitive models suggest. In this paper we discuss a range of story features that appear to influence the creation of perspective during literary reading, and examine their relationship with individual differences in readers' responses. We suggest that the interpretive process involves a phasic sequence, initiated by defamiliarizing story features that require the reader to go beyond the schema that initially guided comprehension. Evidence from our studies shows that during such a phasic cycle, readers' feelings shape response to the unfolding narrative by facilitating shifts in perspective and then in interpretation.


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