Mary Thomas Crane's Shakespeare’s Brain: Reading with Cognitive Theory PDF

By Mary Thomas Crane

ISBN-10: 0691050872

ISBN-13: 9780691050874

Here Mary Thomas Crane considers the mind as a domain the place physique and tradition meet to shape the topic and its expression in language. Taking Shakespeare as her case learn, she boldly demonstrates the explanatory energy of cognitive theory--a concept which argues that language is produced by means of a reciprocal interplay of physique and atmosphere, mind and tradition, and which refocuses consciousness at the position of the writer within the making of which means. Crane unearths in Shakespeare's texts an online of constructions and different types wherein which means is created. The strategy yields clean insights right into a wide variety of his performs, together with The Comedy of blunders, As you're keen on It, 12th evening, Hamlet, degree for Measure, and The Tempest.

Crane's cognitive studying lines the advanced interactions of cultural and cognitive determinants of which means as they play themselves out in Shakespeare's texts. She exhibits how each one play facilities on a observe or phrases conveying a number of meanings (such as "act," "pinch," "pregnant," "villain and clown"), and the way every one cluster has been formed by way of early sleek ideological formations. The e-book additionally chronicles the playwright's constructing reaction to the fabric stipulations of topic formation in early smooth England. Crane finds that Shakespeare in his comedies first explored the social areas during which the topic is shaped, resembling the house, classification hierarchy, and romantic courtship. His later performs display a better preoccupation with how the self is shaped in the physique, because the embodied brain seeks to make feel of and negotiate its actual and social environment.

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Additional info for Shakespeare’s Brain: Reading with Cognitive Theory

Sample text

112 A monosemic word thus comprises a category organized around a single prototype, with knowledge of the prototype based on complex cultural knowledge. The polysemic words that seem to have been particularly interesting to Shakespeare belong to categories of meaning that are structured by several linked prototypes. 113 The words that interest me here illustrate a variety of types of polysemy, ranging from prototype shifts within an essentially monosemic category to polysemy that includes instances of what might be considered homonymy.

Sometimes Shakespeare seems to push against the socially constructed meanings of words and to explore the extent to which an individual can bend their cultural mandate. In other cases the linkages and connections seem to be less consciously explored and to represent the lineations and filiations of the mind at work. Empson is disturbed by “doctrines” covertly conveyed by words and has as his goal to teach readers to recognize and disarm them. Shakespeare seems to have been interested in the many kinds of work that words and images could 32 INTRODUCTION do.

For a cognitive theorist the question is not which is more accurate as a description of human selfhood but rather how we rely on both metaphors, and the difference between them, for our sense of ourselves as persons. ”82 His focus on resistance to ideology seems overly simple from a cognitive perspective, where agency is a basic and presymbolic image schema. In Mandler’s words, “Perceptual analysis of causal and non-causal motion is involved not only in the formation of concepts of animacy and inanimacy but also in the development of the concept of an agent.

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Shakespeare’s Brain: Reading with Cognitive Theory by Mary Thomas Crane


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