Taking as its starting point what is sometimes called 'the prison house of language' - the widespread feeling that language falls terribly short when it comes to articulating the rich and disparate contents of the human mental tapestry - this book sets out a radically new view of the interplay between language, literature and mind. Shifting the focus from the literary text itself to literature as a case of human agency, it reconsiders a wide range of interdisciplinary issues including the move from world to mind, the existence or otherwise of a property of literariness or essence of art, the nature of literature as a unique output of human cognition and the possible distinctiveness of the mind that creates it. In constant dialogue with philosophy, linguistics and the cognitive sciences, this book offers an invaluable new treatment of literature and literary language and sketches novel directions for literary study in the twenty-first century.
Patricia Kolaiti is a Lecturer at New York College, Athens. From 2011-14, she was Associate Researcher with the Balzan project on 'Literature as an Object of Knowledge' based at St John's College Research Centre, Oxford. She is a published poet, and her collection Celesteia (2007) was nominated for the 2008 First Book Diavazo Award in Greece.
Prologue; 1. The question of expressibility or how far it is possible to speak our mind; 2. Language, world and mind; 3. The curse of the phenomenal: a case from Kinaesthesia; 4. After structural essentialism what? Implications for the inadequacy of language thesis; 5. Literature as artifact v literature as a cognitive object. Implications for linguistic pessimism; 6. Literature as meaning v literature as experience; 7. Interdisciplinarity, theory and the sciences of mind; Afterword.