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How Do Audiences Act?

Part of the Cognitive Studies in Literature and Performance book series (CSLP)

Abstract

This chapter references briefly some of the background studies from philosophy of language, neuroscience, art history and literary theory that should be helpful to further studies of audiences’ kinesic reactions to texts. Subjects include Austin, Searle, and Cavell’s descriptions of illocutionary and performative language, Grice and Pratt on the co-operative principle, Andy Clark on predictive processing, Schilbach on second-person neuroscience, Rizzolatti et al. on mirror neurons, Zunshine on Theory of Mind, Spolsky on kinesis in pictures and the contracts of fiction, and Keen on empathy.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Chaim Perelman and L. Olbrechts-Tyteca, The New Rhetoric: A Treatise on Argumentation (Notre Dame: Notre Dame University Press, 1969).

  2. 2.

    See David Duff, “Melodies of Mind: Poetic Forms as Cognitive Structures,” in Cognition, Literature, and History, ed. Mark J. Bruhn and Donald R. Wehrs (New York: Routledge, 2014), 17–38, for an account of how rhetorical figures have been linked, starting with Longinus, and through eighteenth-century theories of the sublime, to bodily knowledge such as has been called “hot cognition” by psychologist Herbert Simon.

  3. 3.

    Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.

  4. 4.

    Schilbach et al., “Toward a second-person neuroscience,” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36 (2013): 393–414, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X12000660.

  5. 5.

    On misunderstanding, see Ellen Spolsky, The Contracts of Fiction: Cognition, Culture, Community (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), 130–154.

  6. 6.

    How to Do Things with Words (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1962), 134, 139.

  7. 7.

    For a discussion of this odd mistake of Austin’s, see Spolsky, The Contracts of Fiction, 137–38, 239.

  8. 8.

    John Searle, “A Classification of Illocutionary Acts,” Language in Society 5 (1976): 1–23.

  9. 9.

    Toward a Speech Act Theory of Literary Discourse (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1977), 114.

  10. 10.

    H. Paul Grice, “Logic and Conversation,” in Syntax and Semantics, vol. 3: Speech Acts, ed. Peter Cole and Jerry Morgan (New York: Academic Press, 1975).

  11. 11.

    In this volume, p. x.

  12. 12.

    Thinking with Literature: Towards a Cognitive Criticism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 83.

  13. 13.

    An early report was G. Rizzolatti et al., “Premotor Cortex and the Recognition of Motor Actions,” Cognitive Brain Research 3 (1996): 131–41. Hundreds of studies have followed, including a subset discussing the relevance to literary theory and criticism, for which see Lisa Zunshine, “Lying Bodies of the Enlightenment: Theory of Mind and Cultural Historicism,” in Introduction to Cognitive Cultural Studies, ed. Lisa Zunshine (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010), 115–33.

  14. 14.

    Lisa Zunshine, Why We Read Fiction: Theory of Mind and the Novel (Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2006), 6ff; Zunshine, “Lying Bodies.”

  15. 15.

    Zunshine, Why We Read Fiction, 13.

  16. 16.

    Surfing Uncertainty, 3.

  17. 17.

    Surfing Uncertainty, 7.

  18. 18.

    Why We Read Fiction, 10.

  19. 19.

    See Spolsky, Gaps in Nature: Literary Interpretation and the Modular Mind (Albany: SUNY UP, 1993).

  20. 20.

    Spolsky, The Contracts of Fiction.

  21. 21.

    Empathy and the Novel (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 168. See also Keen’s “Pivoting Toward Empiricism,” Narrative 24 (2016).

  22. 22.

    Stanley Cavell, “Performative and Passionate Utterance,” in Philosophy the Day after Tomorrow (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005), 155–91.

  23. 23.

    See Spolsky, “An Embodied View of Misunderstanding in Macbeth,” Poetics Today 32 (2011): 489–520, for more on passionate performances and responsibility.

  24. 24.

    “Contrapposto: Style and Meaning in Renaissance Art,” The Art Bulletin 59 (1977): 347.

  25. 25.

    You might want to look at the collection of pictures of the statue in Google Images where you can see it from several other angles than the one shown here.

  26. 26.

    “Toward a second-person neuroscience.”

  27. 27.

    The scene in which the elders surprise the naked young wife in her bath, although repeatedly painted by European painters, does not occur in the text. See Ellen Spolsky, Satisfying Skepticism: Embodied Knowledge in the Early Modern World (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001) for a fuller discussion of this story of Susanna, and of several Doubting Thomas pictures as well.

  28. 28.

    The sculptor of the Louvre Hermaphrodite similarly benefits from presenting the subject as failing to conceal what the audience is of course interested in.

  29. 29.

    Rembrandt’s “Doubting Thomas” (see it on Google Images), in Moscow, has Thomas leaning back and away from what he sees.

  30. 30.

    On interpreting pictured postures as predictive, see Spolsky, “Elaborated Knowledge: Reading Kinesis in Pictures,” Poetics Today 17 (1996): 162.

  31. 31.

    Surfing Uncertainty, 181.

  32. 32.

    http://www.cisek.org/pavel

  33. 33.

    “Bodily selves in relation: embodied simulation as second-person perspective on intersubjectivity,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 369 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2013.0177.

  34. 34.

    Schilbach et al., “Toward a second-person neuroscience,” 3.

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  • Spolsky, Ellen. Gaps in Nature: Literary Interpretation and the Modular Mind. Albany: SUNY UP, 1993.

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  • ———. Elaborated Knowledge: Reading Kinesis in Pictures. Poetics Today 17 (1996): 157–80.

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  • ———. Satisfying Skepticism: Embodied Knowledge in the Early Modern World. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001.

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  • ———. An Embodied View of Misunderstanding in Macbeth. Poetics Today 32 (2011): 489–520.

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Spolsky, E. (2018). How Do Audiences Act?. In: Banks, K., Chesters, T. (eds) Movement in Renaissance Literature. Cognitive Studies in Literature and Performance. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69200-5_12

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