[ilds] real emotions and unreal figures

Godshalk, William (godshawl) godshawl at ucmail.uc.edu
Sun Oct 18 12:56:48 PDT 2009

           " All my life, I've been fascinated by the way people relate to literature and the arts. As a result, I have been teaching and writing about psychoanalytic psychology. cognitive science, and what they tell us about the responses of readers to literary texts, movies, and occasionally the other arts.

           " Recently, I've gotten intensely interested in what neuropsychology has to say about the literary process. My most recent book, Literature and the Brain tells how our brains function in special ways when we are transported by a story, a poem, a play, or a movie. We no longer sense our bodies or our environment. We do not disbelieve the most imporbable things, and we feel real emotions towards people and situations that we know are quite unreal. Literature and the Brain explains that our brains behave in this special way because we know that we cannot act to change the work of art. The book goes on to address some basic questions about literature. What makes us sense some language as literary? What does it mean when we say a literary work is good or great or awful? What brain states account for literary creativity? Why have all cultures in all times, so far as we know, had some form of language art?"

So writes Norman Holland about his newest book, Literature and the Brain. I have not read the book, but I hope it gives us a way (another way) of dealing with the problem of unreal people whom we think of as real. I think of women checking out at a grocery store and talking about the soaps.


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