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Vermeule, Blakey
Why do we care about literary characters? / Blakey Vermeule
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, c2010
book jacket
Location Call Number Status
 4th Floor  PN3352.P7 V47 2010    AVAILABLE
Subject(s) Fiction -- Psychological aspects
Characters and characteristics in literature
Psychology and literature
Reader-response criticism
English fiction -- 18th century -- History and criticism
Physical Description xvi, 273 p. : ill. ; 24 cm
Note Includes bibliographical references (p. [255]-263) and index
Contents The fictional among us -- The cognitive dimension -- What hails us? -- The literary endowment: five mind reading turns. four openings ; free indirect discourse ; Machiavellian narratives ; attention ; the drama of differential access to social information -- The fantasy of exposure and narrative development in eighteenth-century Britain -- God novels -- Gossip and literary narratives -- What's the matter with Miss Bates? -- Mind blindness -- Postmodernism reflects: J.M. Coetzee and the eighteenth-century novel
Review "Blakey Vermeule wonders how readers become involved in the lives of fictional characters, people they know do not exist. She examines the ways in which readers' experiences of literature are affected by the emotional attachments they form to fictional characters and how those experiences then influence their social relationships in real life. She focuses on a range of topics, from intimate articulations of sexual desire, gender identity, ambition, and rivalry to larger issues brought on by rapid historical and economic change. Vermeule discusses the phenomenon of emotional attachment to literary characters primarily in terms of 18th-century British fiction but also considers the postmodern work of Thomas Mann, J. M. Coetzee, Ian McEwan, and Chinua Achebe." "From the perspective of cognitive science, Vermeule finds that caring about literary characters is not all that different from caring about other people, especially strangers. The tools used by literary authors to sharpen and focus reader interest tap into evolved neural mechanisms that trigger a caring response." "This book contributes to the emerging field of evolutionary literary criticism. Vermeule draws upon recent research in cognitive science to understand the mental processes underlying human social interactions without sacrificing solid literary criticism."--BOOK JACKET

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