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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19027

Title: Modelling the Mind: Conceptual Blending and Modernist Narratives
Authors: Copland, Sarah
Advisor: Cuddy-Keane, Melba
Department: English
Keywords: Modernist Narratives
Cognitive Approaches
Rhetorical Approaches
Conceptual Blending
Issue Date: 18-Feb-2010
Abstract: This thesis offers a new approach to mind modelling in modernist narratives. Taking Nietzsche’s work as exemplary of modernist ideas about cognition’s relational basis, I argue that conceptual blending theory, a particularly cogent model of a fundamental cognitive process, has roots in modernism. I read inscriptions of relational cognition in modernist narratives as “conceptual blends” that invite cognitive mobility as a central facet of reader response. These blends, which integrate conceptual domains, invite similarity-seeing and difference-seeing, exposing the reader to new conceptual content and new cognitive styles; she is thus better able to negotiate the reading-related complexities of modernist narrative’s formal innovations and the real-world complexities of modernity’s local and global upheavals. Chapter One considers blending’s interrelated rhetorical motivations and cognitive effects in Chiang Yee’s Silent Traveller narratives: bringing together English and Chinese domains, Chiang’s blends defamiliarize his readers’ culturally entrenched assumptions, invite collaborative reading strategies, and thus equip his readers for relating flexibly to a newly globalized world. Moving away from blends in a text’s narration, Chapter Two focuses on blends as textual structuring principles. I read Virginia Woolf’s The Waves as a thinking mind with fundamentally relational cognitive processes; I consider the mobile cognitive operations we perform reading about a text’s mind thinking and thinking along with it. Chapters Three and Four cross the nebulous text-peritext border to examine blends in modernist prefaces. Chapter Three focuses on blends in Joseph Conrad’s and Henry James’s prefaces, relating them, through the reading strategies they invite, to the narratives they accompany. Chapter Four considers allographic prefaces to Arthur Morrison’s Tales of Mean Streets and two of Chiang’s narratives: blends in these prefaces invite the cognitive mobility necessary for reconceptualizing both allographic preface-text and East-West relations. All four chapters treat the modernist narrative text as a textual system whose blends, often interacting and borderless, signal reciprocal, mutually permeable relations among its textual levels. Dialogic relations also underwrite the interaction between these blends and blends the reader performs when engaging with them. Modernist narratives model (bear inscriptions of) cognition’s relational processes in order to model (shape) the reader’s mind.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19027
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of English - Doctoral theses

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