Toward a Cognitive Theory of Narrative Acts

  • by Frederick Luis Aldama (editor)
  • Narrated by Kellie Fitzgerald
  • 11 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Toward a Cognitive Theory of Narrative Acts brings together in one volume cutting-edge research that turns to recent findings in cognitive and neurobiological sciences, psychology, linguistics, philosophy, and evolutionary biology, among other disciplines, to explore and understand more deeply various cultural phenomena, including art, music, literature, and film. The essays fulfilling this task for the general listener as well as the specialist are written by renowned authors H. Porter Abbott, Patrick Colm Hogan, Suzanne Keen, Herbert Lindenberger, Lisa Zunshine, Katja Mellman, Lalita Pandit Hogan, Klarina Priborkin, Javier Gutiérrez-Rexach, Ellen Spolsky, and Richard Walsh. Among the works analyzed are plays by Samuel Beckett, novels by Maxine Hong Kingston, music compositions by Igor Stravinsky, art by Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin, and films by Michael Haneke.
Each of the essays shows in a systematic, clear, and precise way how music, art, literature, and film work in and of themselves and also how they are interconnected. Finally, while each of the essays is unique in style and methodological approach, together they show the way toward a unified knowledge of artistic creativity.

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What the Critics Say

“This exciting collection attests to the range and sophistication of current cognitive-evolutionary studies in narrative. Exploring the relation between narrative and topics including empathy, dream, torture and ethics, theory of mind, and emotional change, each essay demonstrates a thorough knowledge of the secondary discipline it brings to bear on narrative art." (Nancy Easterlin, University of New Orleans)
"Focused on the universal human capacity for narrative, Frederick Aldama's Toward a Cognitive Theory of Narrative Acts boldly stakes out a common space of knowledge at the intersection of the natural and social sciences and the humanities. The essays by leading cognitive critics provide important insights into the motivations and workings of narrative from Aristotle to contemporary film." (Mary Thomas Crane, Boston College)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Fantastic! More Please!

If you could sum up Toward a Cognitive Theory of Narrative Acts in three words, what would they be?

More Narratology Please!


Who was your favorite character and why?

Lots of really excellent essays in this collection. I like Suzanne Keen's essay, that is the one I am listing to now. Lisa Zunshine and Patrick Colm Hogan have good chapters also. The whole book is good.


What about Kellie Fitzgerald’s performance did you like?

Well-read, clear and expressive.


If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Nonfiction so...


Any additional comments?

I am a PhD student in English Literature. I specialize in cognitive narratology so I was really happy to see an audiobook on the subject. Looking at literature and narrative from the perspective of cognitive science is the next big wave. Lots of A-list universities are focusing more and more on this perspective -- Harvard has put out several dissertations lately that take a cognitive approach to literature. Much more to follow.

This is a challenging title and it would definitely help your comprehension if you already knew a little about narratology and cog-sci. I love it. I have listened to it once and I am listening to it a second time. I would very much like to encourage publishers to produce more of this kind of literature in audio format.

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- Extra MSG

The reader is not appropriate for this collection

This is a collection of essays on cognitive science intersecting with the arts and literature. The narrator or reader must have been told this was a romance novel because she speaks about brain synapses and firing neurons in such a way that I envision some dainty maids bust bursting from her bodice while Fabio steals her away behind a barn.

However, oddly, the recording sounded like a robot with pitches jumping and falling between words as though the words or sounds had been strung together after a pre-recording of individual monemes.

Frankly, I couldn't follow the papers and had to give up entirely on this book.

I'm sure the reader does a fine job with literature but this ain't literature.
I am very used to listening to people who write these sorts of articles, chapters, or papers read their work aloud. It is normal practice to read and listen to such things. I don't have problems when I'm at conferences but could not understand a lot of what was being said here.
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- valerie

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-31-2012
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks