Cognitive Approaches to Old English Poetry

August 2012
2 line illustrations
222 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Anglo-Saxon Studies
ISBN: 9781843843252
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
BISAC LIT011000, LIT014000, LIT004120

Cognitive Approaches to Old English Poetry

Antonina Harbus

Offers an entirely new way of interpreting and examining Anglo-Saxon texts, via theories derived from cognitive studies.
"A major, thoughtful study, applying new and serious interpretative and critical perspectives to a central range of Old English poetry." Professor John Hines, Cardiff University

Cognitive approaches to literature offer new and exciting ways of interpreting literature and mentalities, by bringing ideas and methodologies from Cognitive Science into the analysis of literature and culture. While these approaches are of particular value in relation to understanding the texts of remote societies, they have to date made very little impact on Anglo-Saxon Studies. This book therefore acts as a pioneer, mapping out the new field, explaining its relevance to Old English Literary Studies, and demonstrating in practice its application to a range of key vernacular poetic texts, including Beowulf, The Wanderer, and poems from the Exeter Book. Adapting key ideas from three related fields - Cognitive Literary/Cultural Studies, Cognitive Poetics, and Conceptual Metaphor Theory - in conjunction with more familiar models, derived from Literary Analysis, Stylistics, and Historical Linguistics, allows several new ways of thinking about Old English literature to emerge. It permits a systematic means of examining and accounting for the conceptual structures that underpin Anglo-Saxon poetics, as well as fuller explorations, at the level of mental processing, of the workings of literary language in context. The result is a set of approaches to interpreting Anglo-Saxon textuality, through detailed studies of the concepts, mental schemas, and associative logic implied in and triggered by the evocative language and meaning structures of surviving works.

Antonina Harbus is Professor in the Department of English at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.

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Table of Contents

Conceptual Metaphors
Conceptual Blending
Text World Theory
Cognitive Cultural Studies
Anglo-Saxon Perspectives on Autobiographical Memory and the Self
Cognitive Approaches to the History of Emotions and the Emotional Dynamic of Literature


Offers fresh approaches to understanding the contemporary reception of Anglo-Saxon poetry and modern encounters with these texts. YEAR'S WORK IN ENGLISH STUDIES

Cognitive Approaches to Old English Poetry marks an ambitious foray by Anglo-Saxonist Antonina Harbus into new realms of analysis afforded by the "cognitive approaches" of her title. It will be of particular interest to those who want to understand the implications of current trends in literary study to embrace the terms and ideas of cognitive science. THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW

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