Approaches To Literary Criticism Essay
Literary criticism concerns (among other things) the meanings of, in, and evoked by literary texts.
Cognitive science concerns thinking, by people and computers, and extracting or evoking meanings while reading and writing requires thinking.
It would also be too strong to say that all cognitive scientists are ignorant of literary criticism, but they certainly do not mention it often in their footnotes. Hayes and Linda Flower (1980) and Patricia Carpenter and Marcel Just (1987), have studied the processes of writing and reading but have not extended their studies to works of literature.
Some others, like Jean Mandler (1978) and Wendy Lehnert (1981), have analysed the "grammars" employed in the structures of stories.
So I have little choice but to start from the psychological side of the gulf in building the bridge between the two domains.
But a casual examination of leading books from the two domains suggests that each has little awareness of the other, or of the possible relevance of the other to its concerns.
These do not begin to exhaust the list, but they may serve as examples.
A taxonomy of theories of literary criticism might derive from answers to the questions: How is meaning attributed to the text? These, and many others, would seem to be appropriate inquiries within the domain of literary criticism.
I will argue that cognitive science has reached a point in understanding human thinking where it can say a great deal about literary criticism; in particular, that it can cast some light on the theoretical foundations of criticism and even generate useful advice for its practice.
Paul Valery, Instants In this paper, I will be acting as an unabashed missionary for contemporary cognitive science, which is itself an amalgam of artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, and linguistics, with a few other trace substances (e.g., anthropology, epistemology) thrown in.