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18.1 2.Flesch Begin

18.1 2.Flesch Begin

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Published by: B Rhie on May 26, 2011
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 W 
HAT
E
T
HINK
 
ABOUT
  W 
HEN
E
T
HINK
 
ABOUT
 F
ICTIONAL
C
HARACTERS
1
 W 
ILLIAM
F
LESCH
The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, puzzling over the (literally)in
nite subtlety required for our effortless ability to understand, interact,play with, hate, love, resent, and care about each other, said that in the lastanalysis what makes these things possible is “agreement…in forms of life.”
Übereinstimmung
might be better and more literally translated (as StanleyCavell points out) not quite as “agreement” but as a kind of harmonizing. Weare similar to each other in profoundly complicated ways, and it is part of oursimilarity (and what makes this “complicated form of life” what it is) that thissimilarity explicitly matters to us—and that it matters to me that it shouldmatter to you as well. Why is this? The ultimate answer, as the word phrase“forms of life” implies, is biological: “What has to be accepted, the given,is—so one could say—
 forms of life.
But can studying biology, can discover-ing unobvious dimensions of the complicated form of life that we are, give usany important insights into the human experience of literature (and the otherarts)? To the extent that literary theory and literary criticism always seek toalter, enrich, change, correct, illuminate, or expand our
intrinsic
experience ofliterature, does a biological approach to this humanistic goal have anythingto offer?I stress literature because “cultural studies” is mainly the province ofEnglish departments with extended missions. So it’s no surprise that this“Introduction to Cognitive Cultural Studies” is largely focused on literature,too (mainly narrative, including
lm and theater) and on literary theory.Although some of the contributions also consider our cognitive capacities toappreciate such other universal cultural experiences as music and dance (G.Gabrielle Starr, in her highly informative essay on “Multisensory Imagery”)
1
Review of Lisa Zunshine, ed.,
Introduction to Cognitive Cultural Studies
Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins UP, 2010). ix + 387 pp.
©
symploke
symploke
Vol. 18, Nos. 1-2 (2010) ISSN 1069-0697, 327-332.
Vol. 18, Nos. 1-2 (2010) ISSN 1069-0697, 327-332.

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