By M. Winkleman, Michael A. Winkelman
Investigations into how the mind truly works have ended in impressive discoveries and those findings hold profound implications for analyzing literature. This examine applies fresh breakthroughs from neuroscience and evolutionary psychology so that it will deepen our figuring out of John Donne's Songs and Sonnets.
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Additional resources for A Cognitive Approach to John Donne’s Songs and Sonnets
But while they took the scientific method as a model, their hermeneutical explanations reveal a bias against it as well. They recognized that artistic literary compositions utilized language more connotatively than scientific reports did. Yet the price paid for their objective meanings, however paradoxical or ironical, was, in effect, leaving flesh and blood audiences out. Most notably in “The Affective Fallacy,” Wimsatt and Beardsley sacrificed feeling and psychology for 38 A C O G NIT IVE AP P ROACH TO SONGS AND S ONNETS a detached impartiality.
V, 236) His own writings exemplify these habits. In another homily, he glanced back at the imaginative power of verse: “How empty a thing is Rhetorique? (and yet Rhetorique will make absent and remote things present to your understanding) How weak a thing is Poetry? ii, 87). After years of experience in which he composed “more thankfull Sonnets . . to love,” read loads of vernacular authors, and “applied himself to an incessant study of Textual Divinity,” he was deeply impressed by poetry’s paradoxical power (Image, 19; Walton, 46).
Simply put, they would mean studying what is being found out about the mind and utilizing that information to comprehend the arts better. They would also partake of literature’s established critical lexicon, for that furnishes a ready-made and apposite vocabulary and conceptual framework for discussing formal elements and artistic traditions. Just as Chemistry and Botany have their own technical argot to conveniently explain particular phenomena, though their laws are ultimately reconcilable to physical constants like the charge of an electron or the speed of light, so do many critical tools in English retain their specific usefulness within a broader framework of human universals.