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Why Do We Care About Literary Characters? (Hardcover)

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Product Overview

Blakey Vermeule wonders how readers become involved in the lives of fictional characters, people they know do not exist. She examines the ways in which readers' experiences of literature are affected by the emotional attachments they form to fictional characters and how those experiences then influence their social relationships in real life. She focuses on a range of topics, from intimate articulations of sexual desire, gender identity, ambition, and rivalry to larger issues brought on by rapid historical and economic change. Vermeule discusses the phenomenon of emotional attachment to literary characters primarily in terms of 18th-century British fiction but also considers the postmodern work of Thomas Mann, J. M. Coetzee, Ian McEwan, and Chinua Achebe.
From the perspective of cognitive science, Vermeule finds that caring about literary characters is not all that different from caring about other people, especially strangers. The tools used by literary authors to sharpen and focus reader interest tap into evolved neural mechanisms that trigger a caring response.
This book contributes to the emerging field of evolutionary literary criticism. Vermeule draws upon recent research in cognitive science to understand the mental processes underlying human social interactions without sacrificing solid literary criticism.

Specifications

Publisher Johns Hopkins Univ Pr
Mfg Part# 9780801893605
SKU 211294783
Format Hardcover
ISBN10 0801893607
Release Date 12/10/2009
Product Attributes
Book Format Hardcover
Minimum Age 22
Number of Pages 0273
Publisher Johns Hopkins University Press

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