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NYT: "The Next Big Thing"

rmeyers's picture

An article entitled "Next Big Thing in English: Knowing They Know That You Know" asks some interesting questions (broadly, but well).

Here are some snippets that might be particularly pertinent:

"The brain may be it. Getting to the root of people’s fascination with fiction and fantasy, Mr. Gottschall said, is like “mapping wonderland.”"

AND "At the other end of the country Blakey Vermeule, an associate professor of English at Stanford, is examining theory of mind from a different perspective. She starts from the assumption that evolution had a hand in our love of fiction, and then goes on to examine the narrative technique known as “free indirect style,” which mingles the character’s voice with the narrator’s. Indirect style enables readers to inhabit two or even three mind-sets at a time.

This style, which became the hallmark of the novel beginning in the 19th century with Jane Austen, evolved because it satisfies our “intense interest in other people’s secret thoughts and motivations,” Ms. Vermeule said.

The road between the two cultures — science and literature — can go both ways. “Fiction provides a new perspective on what happens in evolution,” said William Flesch, a professor of English at Brandeis University."

Could this have anything to do with our mini-discussion(s) on captions vs. thought bubbles in graphic novels/comics?

 

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