Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Language and Discourse Seminar Series

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Who this event is for

  • Everyone


JHB 202, John Henry Brookes, Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane site


Narrative Presence: A Typology of Reader Engagement from an Enactive Perspective with speaker Yanna Popova

Enactive approaches to human cognition foreground the inter-subjective nature of human understanding, including the distinct forms of literary narrative. In the enactive view, properly reflecting on the interactive process entails a rethinking of what constitutes literary understanding. Building on Yanna Popova's previous work on enactive narrative understanding, this presentation proposes a typology of the phenomenal character of literary reading, revealed through the idea of presence.

The extent to which a reader feels present in a story depends on where her attention is focused and why. Yanna further examines the experience of presence in a story in relation to two factors: the extent to which conscious attention is focused or diffused, and the degree of integration of different aspects of the self: embodied and/or reflective, both of which possess specific textual correlates, what she has termed 'linguistic markers of experientiality'. The theoretical discussion is based on examples from Conrad, James, and the experimental fiction of David Czuchlewski.