How does the mind do literary work?

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In this chapter we present a number of examples regarding literary forms and the way the mind processes them, ranging from meter to deviant syntactic structures in avant-garde literature. In particular, we look into the mismatches between these forms and language. Arguing against traditional positions in literary and linguistic criticism, we show the advantages of divorcing functional and structural relations between language and literary structures. Instead we suggest that the complex relations between literary form and language are best accounted for by building on a modular approach to cognition (Fodor 1983), thus developing a more theoretically and empirically coherent theory of literary forms (e.g. Fabb 2009).


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