The Neuroscience of Literary Time Travel. How Literary Works Cross Historical Distance
IN NORTH AMERICAN AND CULTURAL STUDIES
The Neuroscience of Literary Time Travel
How Literary Works Cross Historical Distance
May 10, 2022
6:00 c.t. - 8:00 pm
Room A, IAAK
Prof. Paul Armstrong
Brown University | Department of English
The dead seem to come alive again when we read a literary work and feel the strange but intimate presence of other subjectivities. The ability of a literary work to speak across historical distance may seem miraculous, but it is ultimately based on our neurobiological equipment for making sense of the world. In a neuro phenomenological analysis of the relation between aesthetic experience and its neural correlates, Paul Armstrong explores how we speak with the dead by unbinding and binding cognitive energy, interacting with patterns of meaning-making embedded in a literary work that activate and sensitize our arousal systems.
Paul B. Armstrong is Professor of English at Brown University. His research focuses on modern fiction, the phenomenology of reading, and neuroaesthetics. His most recent books are Stories and the Brain: The Neuroscience of Narrative (2020) and How Literature Plays with the Brain: The Neuroscience of Reading and Art (2013).