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, Shelley Sikora,

Enactment versus Interpretation: A Phenomenological Analysis

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Enactment versus Interpretation: A Phenomenological Analysis of Readers’ Experience of Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner To articulate what constitutes the depth of aesthetic engagement, a phenomenological study of readers’ responses to Coleridge’s poem, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, was conducted. After reading the poem three times during one week, each of 40 readers chose five passages that they found striking or evocative and then commented on one, yielding 198 commentaries. Numerically aided phenomenological methods (Kuiken, Schopflocher, & Wild, 1989; Kuiken & Miall, 1995) were used to (1) comparatively examine thesecommentaries, identifying and paraphrasing recurrent meaning expressions (called constituents); (2) create matrices reflective of the profiles of constituents found in each commentary; (3) create clusters of commentaries according to the similarities in their profiles of constituents; and (4) examine each cluster to ascertain their distinctive attributes. Among the six distinct styles of commentary thus identified, one in particular evidenced a pattern in which (1) an emergent affective theme was progressively transformed across the selected passages; (2) a turning point in the expression of an affective theme occurred following a moment of kinesthetic engagement with imagery in the poem; and (3) the reader appeared to become centrally implicated in existential concerns embodied in the text, a phenomenon that involved a blurring of boundaries between the reader’s and the narrator’s perspectives. This mode of engagement with the poem, which we call expressive enactment, contrasted with the other five modes of response that were identified, including ironic allegoresis, autobiographical assimilation, and sensuous engagement.


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