Narrative Theory and the Cognitive Sciences

Edited by David Herman

Under contract with Publications of the Center for the Study of Language and Information, or CSLI
Publications (based at Stanford University).  Expected date of publication:  2003.

Purpose of the Volume

This collection of essays, which consists of contributions composed specifically for the volume, focuses on narrative as a crossroads where cognitive-scientific research in a variety of fields can be synergistically combined, yielding new insights into narrative and suggesting new directions for the cognitive sciences themselves.  The fields represented in the volume include cognitive psychology, social psychology, cognitive linguistics, and literary theory, as well as recent hybridizations such as cognitive narratology.  Narrative Theory and the Cognitive Sciences is thus designed to have broad, cross-disciplinary appeal, aimed as much at students and scholars in the social sciences as humanists, cultural theorists, and specialists in narrative fiction.

Although understanding long, detailed, and formally sophisticated literary narratives is for many people a natural, seemingly automatic process, from the earliest days of research on Artificial Intelligence, investigators showed that enormously complex linguistic and cognitive operations are required to generate or comprehend even the most minimal stories.  Meanwhile, from the perspective of Vygotskian and other social-psychological research focusing on human rather than artificial intelligence, processes of narrative communication provide an important test-bed for theories about the sociointeractional roots of self.  Further, for psychologists adopting the model outlined by cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner, narrative is one of the two fundamental styles of thinking enabling human beings to make their way in the world--the other style being "paradigmatic" or logical/classificatory thinking.  Weaving together these and other research perspectives, contributions to the volume collectively demonstrate the central importance of narrative viewed as a cognitive style and discourse genre, as well as a resource for literary writing and other forms of expression.


Part I:  Narrative and Cognition:  Perspectives from Cognitive, Social, and Evolutionary Psychology

1. Richard Gerrig (Psychology, SUNY-Stonybrook), "Cognitive Psychological Foundations of Narrative Experiences"
2. Michael Bamberg, (Psychology, Clark University), "Narrative, Cognition, and Experience:  Reflections on How We Make Sense of Self and Others"
3.  Kitty Klein, (Psychology, North Carolina State University), "Narrative Construction, Cognitive Processing, and Health"
4.  Porter Abbott (English, UC-Santa Barbara), "Unnarratable Knowledge"

Part II:  Cognitive Linguistics and Narrative Theory

5.  Catherine Emmott (Linguistics, University of Glasgow), "Constructing Social Space:  Empathy and Alienation in Narrative Processing"
6.  Mark Turner (English, Comparative Literature, and Cognitive Science, University of Maryland), "Narrative Compression"
7.  William Frawley (Linguistics and Cognitive Science, University of Delaware) and Raoul N. Smith (Computer Science, Northeastern University), "The Semantics of Emotion and Therapeutic Narrative"

Part III:  Narrative Thinking, Narrative Texts

8.  Manfred Jahn (English Studies, University of Cologne), "Exterior and Interior Narratives"
9.  Marie-Laure Ryan (Independent Scholar, US), "Cognitive Mapping and the Representation of Narrative Space"
10.  David Herman (English and English Linguistics, North Carolina State University), "Narrative as Cognitive Artifact"

Part IV:  Cognitive Approaches to Literary Narrative

11.  Monika Fludernik (English Studies, University of Freiburg), "Cognitive Narratology:  Natural Narratology and Cognitive Parameters"
12.  Uri Margolin (Comparative Literature, University of Alberta, Canada), "Cognitive Sciences and the Representation of the Mind in Literary Narrative"
13.  Alan Palmer (Independent Scholar, UK), "The Construction of Fictional Minds in Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies and Men at Arms"