E 301 B Unit 8 Semester II The Literary Mind Dr. Magda Introduction Unit 8 focuses on the following: How literariness can be defined and analyzed in terms of the cognitive approach. The notion that the mental processes stimulated in the reader by literary texts are distinctively different from those required for the interpretation of nonliterary texts. The way in which relevance theory and schema theory can be used separately and in combination to explain the effects of literary texts on the mind of the reader and to examine this aspect of literary creativity. How corpus evidence can be used to substantiate intuitions about general schemata and literary vagueness. Relevance Theory Using the cognitive theory to model the processes involved in reading literature. The branch of linguistics which deals with this modeling is known as cognitive poetics ( see Stockwell, 2002; Gavins and Steen, 2003), and the cognitive theories that are related to the cognitive approach are relevance theory. Review Paul Grice’s cooperative principle. For Sperber and Wilson, there is no cooperative principle According to Sperber and Wilson’s relevance theory , a piece of language has an in-built guarantee that it is relevant. It comes with a presumption that it is the most relevant way for the authors or speaker to communicate a set of assumptions . From a relevance theory perspective, its multimodality ( its simulation of a child’s handwriting , must be relevant to its communicative intentions. For Sperber and Wilson, a text has optimal relevance if for minimum effort in reading it, its processing leads to maximum cognitive effects. Relevance And Literature In Reading A, ‘ Relevance and Literature’, Tony Box draws on relevance theory in an attempt to show how literary texts are different to nonliterary texts. On the principle of relevance, minimum effort is invested for maximum cognitive effects. Any additional processing effort in a reader’s search for optimal relevance needs to be balanced by a suitable set of effects. According to Box, there are certain texts with direct reference, such as autobiographies, which have attained a valued literary status (example: Rousseaus’ The Confession). The relevance of a poem versus that of an advert: Street Song (How can you read this poem in regard to the relevance theory?/ Are Adrian Pilkington’s (1991;2000) views similar to Sperber and Wilson’s ?/ how is the term poetic effects is used to describe the meanings that can be generated in the reading of literary work ?) Schema Theory Schemata (plural of schema) are packets of knowledge of the world which are drawn upon, either consciously or unconsciously , in helping us to make a sense of the world and communicate about it. The concept of schema (page 371) was first used by the German philosopher , Kant, in the 18th century, but in the 20th century was initially associated with the work of the psychologist, Bartlett (1932). In 1970s, schema theory was seized upon in artificial intelligence work. Attempts to generate computer models of human text processing led to the realization that this involves not only knowledge of language but also organized knowledge of the world. Guy Cook, in Reading B, drives his schema framework from Schank and Abselson (1977), who put forward one of the most complete and influential models in the artificial intelligence revival of schema theory in the 1970s. Activating schemata to make sense of a text: ( read example in page 371) and discuss script/ goal/ plan/ themes A script refers to knowledge of a stereotype situation or activity A goal relates to stereotype purposes. A plan is often activated in advance of a goal schema. Themes carry much more of an element of subjectivity in contrast to scripts, plans, and goals. Schema Theory And Literature Cook argues (in Reading B) that literariness is characterized by ‘discourse deviation’ where lexical and grammatical patterns in the text evoke deviation linkages between schemata which challenge and transform a reader’s preexisting perception to bring about ‘schema refreshment’. Cook confirms stereotypical assumptions about people and the world. The advert results is ‘schema reinforcement’. While indicating problems with using a purely Jakobsonian inherency approach, Cook favors supplementing Formalist approach with a focus on cognitive change or otherwise in relation to trying to gauge literariness. More on Cook’s Theory Semino’s modification of Cook’s theory to suggest that some degree of schema reinforcement in the reader is also an effect of most texts, and that ‘literariness’ can be seen in relation to a continuum from schema reinforcement to schema refreshment. How the combination of such cognitive analytical approaches is particularly useful when applied to the way literary narrative fiction achieves its effects Short, Cluppper and Semino( Reading C) use these techniques to show how the reader of such fiction can be manipulated by ‘ focaliser’ techniques . O’Halloran’s also further comments about how fiction sometimes brings about ‘text-world refreshment’ rather than schema refreshment. Another key idea in Cook(1994) in the discussion of schema refreshment is that of novel linking of schemata . For Cook, literary text s typically evoke conflicting and open-minded schemata and reestablish complex and novel relationships between them ( Read William Blake’s Poem The Tyger). Criticism On Cook’s Theory Semino thinks Cook’s idea of schema refreshment is too extreme, too dramatic, and feels that the typical reader experience of literary texts is not one of ‘schema destruction’ and the creation of radically new perception , but rather of much more graduated modification of schemata. Jeffries goes further than this in her critique. She feels that Cook is wrong to see the man function of literature as being to change the way people see things. For her, the most powerful effect of literature can be to endorse people’s existing personal beliefs and values, especially when these are held in opposition to the dominant ideology. She asks if schema change as described by Cook only happens on the first reading of a text, or if it can happen also on subsequent reading. She suggests there is something contradictory about the idea that such an experience can be repeated and implies that there needs to be an explanation for why people re-read favorite texts. The capacity of a literary text to give rise to schema refreshment is, for Cook, bound up with its literary value. The question is , can certain literary texts continue to refresh schemata on subsequent readings? Can you think of literary texts that you have read that continue to do this for you, even after several encounters? Relevance Theory And Schema Theory Relevance theory is part of a branch of linguistics known as ‘pragmatics’ which has its roots in philosophy (Grice whose work Sperber and Wilson start from, was a philosopher) . The concept of relevance is studied in many different fields, including logic, information sciences, cognitive sciences, and it is also studied in epistemology (the theory of knowledge). The solution of any problem requires the prior identification of the relevant elements from which a solution can be constructed. In 1986, Dan Sperber and Deirdre Wilson drew attention to the central importance of relevance decisions in reasoning and communication. Dan Sperber and Deirdre Wilson described the process of inferring relevant information from any given utterance. To do this work, they used the "Principle of Relevance“, which means the position that any utterance addressed to someone automatically conveys the presumption of its own optimal relevance. The central idea of Sperber and Wilson's theory is that all utterances are encountered in some context, and the correct interpretation of a particular utterance is the one that allows most new implications to be made in that context on the basis of the least amount of information necessary to convey it. Relevance is conceived as relative or subjective because it depends upon the state of knowledge of a hearer when they encounter an utterance. Relevance, as a technical term, is restricted to relationships between utterances and interpretations. Schema theory, on the other hand, drives from work in psychology and artificial intelligence. describes an organized pattern of thought or behavior that organizes categories of information and the relationships among them. It can also be described as a mental structure of preconceived ideas, a framework representing some aspect of the world, or a system of organizing and perceiving new information. The Prologue in Bilgewater by Jane Gardam Narrative Skill in Bilgewater Prologue (Reading C) Short et.al. argue that the prologue very carefully adjusts to the ‘focalizer’- the candidate-and, in activating appropriate schemata, positions the reader to sympathize with the candidate. The prologue relies on the reader activating a stereotypical script schema about interviews and a theme schema about how young interviewees might feel. Furthermore, the linguistic patterns of the text are not leading the reader to work to link schemata in a specific way. So, the concepts of schema refreshment and reinforcement do not seem so relevant here. Is the misinterpretation of the prologue a case of schema refreshment? The answer would have to be no because it is not a refreshment of world knowledge. It is instead a case of text world refreshment . Once the readers accept changes have occurred in the text world they generate in reading, then on a relevance theory account, they will seek to attach relevance to this. In searching for optimal relevance, there will be an expectation, whether unconscious or conscious, that additional processing costs will be met by cognitive reward. In the case of Bilgewater, one possible reward for text world refreshment is that the reader experiences surprise and possibly delight in being transported from particularities of the novel to a more universal appreciation of human life cycles. Using A Corpus TO Substantiate Analysis OF Literary Vagueness 450 million word corpus (The Bank of English), which was used in Chapter 2 . When grammar and lexis regularly co-occur, in this way, they are known as phraseologies (page 384). In analyzing corpus evidence we must be careful to distinguish quantitative , frequency evidence from qualitative evidence about the salience of a phenomenon in a culture. Regular phraseologies might tell us something about commonly shared language schemata, i.e. looking for phraseological deviation. The notion of ‘literary vagueness’, which describes the tendency of literary texts to draw the reader into using their own schemata to seek meaning and ‘relevance’ because this is not immediately apparent on the ‘surface’ of the text. Assessing Literary Vagueness On the basis of corpus evidence, it is ambiguous whether someone is loitering is associated with intention 9whether that intention is bad or not0 and thus with a plan schema. Sometimes loitering is associated with bad intention, sometimes with a neural intention and sometimes with no intention at all. The corpus evidence helps substantiate vagueness and ambiguity. An advantage of using corpus with ‘Street Song’ is that it assists explanation of why the poem is likely to be ‘dynamic and disturbing for readers more generally. It suggests that a reader might not be sure whether the footsteps behind you are those of someone who is just walking or someone who may have malign intentions towards you. Corpus analysis suggests that sidling along is an instance of non-core phraseology. Conclusion This Unit goes beyond the idea that literariness only resides in the text, a perspective that was covered in previous units, in chapter 2, 3, and 6. Unit 8 discusses the kind of cognitive processes involved in literary reading and whether literariness can be defined in terms of cognitive effects. Unit 8 has . Unit 8 explains how corpus evidence can be used to substantiate intuitions about general schemata and literary vagueness. Relevance theory is part of a branch of linguistics known as ‘pragmatics’ Schema theory, on the other hand, drives from work in psychology and artificial intelligence. Questions ) Define the following: The concept of relevance Schemata script/ goal/ plan/ themes schema refreshment schema reinforcement novel linking of schemata text world refreshment Phraseologies phraseological deviation non-core phraseology 1 2) Discuss Sperber and Wilson ‘s views as they describes in the of relevance Give examples to support your discussion. 3) In Reading A, ‘A Relevance and Literature’, Tony Box draws on relevance theory in an attempt to show how literary texts are different to non-literary texts. Explain and illustrate with examples. 4) Discuss Cook ‘s (in Reading B) schema refreshment’ and schema reinforcement. Give examples to support your discussion. 5) In Reading C , Short et.al. argue that the prologue very carefully adjusts to the ‘focalizer’- the candidate-and, in activating appropriate schemata, positions the reader to sympathize with the candidate . Explain and give examples to illustrate. 6) How can you use a corpus to substantiate analysis of literary vagueness? Give examples.
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