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July 28, 2008
9780801887062
English
232
81896
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0.81 Inches (US)
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$68.00 USD, £50.50 GBP
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July 28, 2008
9780801887079
English
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.7 Pounds (US)
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Electronic book text
July 28, 2008
9781421406701
9780801887062
English
232
81896
10
1
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$32.00 USD, £23.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Strange Concepts and the Stories They Make Possible

Cognition, Culture, Narrative

In this fresh and often playful interdisciplinary study, Lisa Zunshine presents a fluid discussion of how key concepts from cognitive science complicate our cultural interpretations of "strange" literary phenomena.

From Short Circuit to I, Robot, from The Parent Trap to Big Business, fantastic tales of rebellious robots, animated artifacts, and twins mistaken for each other are a permanent fixture in popular culture and have been since antiquity. Why do these strange concepts captivate the human imagination so thoroughly? Zunshine explores how cognitive science, specifically its ideas of essentialism and functionalism, combined with historical and cultural analysis, can help us understand why we find such literary phenomena so fascinating.

Drawing from research by such cognitive evolutionary anthropologists and psychologists as Scott Atran, Paul Bloom, Pascal Boyer, and Susan A. Gelman, Zunshine examines the cognitive origins of the distinction between essence and function and how unexpected tensions between these two concepts are brought into play in fictional narratives. Discussing motifs of confused identity and of twins in drama, science fiction’s use of robots, cyborgs, and androids, and nonsense poetry and surrealist art, she reveals the range and power of key concepts from science in literary interpretation and provides insight into how cognitive-evolutionary research on essentialism can be used to study fiction as well as everyday strange concepts.

About the Author

Lisa Zunshine is a professor of English at the University of Kentucky and author of Why We Read Fiction: Theory of Mind and the Novel.

Reviews

"The book is stylistically well-written and features interesting readings of various texts."

- Marcus Hartner - Zeitschrift fuer Anglistik und Amerikanistik

"The author gives herself a refreshingly modest assignment: to demonstrate that a certain cognitive predisposition has contributed to the development of, and continued interest in, specific literary motifs that occur across a wide variety of cultures. This is all that she tries to do, and she does it very well."

- Philosophy and Literature

"Zunshine renders the book accessible to the general reader."

- Aristie Trendel - Cercles

"Zunshine’s scholarship here and elsewhere is boldly exploratory."

- Frederick Luis Aldama - Substance
Johns Hopkins University Press
From 17

9780801887062 : strange-concepts-and-the-stories-they-make-possible-zunshine
Hardback
232 Pages
$68.00 USD
9780801887079 : strange-concepts-and-the-stories-they-make-possible-zunshine
Paperback / softback
232 Pages
$32.00 USD
9781421406701 : strange-concepts-and-the-stories-they-make-possible-zunshine
Electronic book text
232 Pages
$32.00 USD

Other Titles by Lisa Zunshine

Approaches to Teaching the Works of John Dryden

edited by Jayne Lewis, Lisa Zunshine
Jan 2013 - The Modern Language Association of America, an imprint of Modern Language Association of America
$37.50 USD - Hardback
$19.75 USD - Paperback / softback

Getting Inside Your Head

Lisa Zunshine
Sep 2012 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$32.95 USD - Hardback
$32.95 USD - Electronic book text

Introduction to Cognitive Cultural Studies

edited by Lisa Zunshine
Jul 2010 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$38.00 USD - Paperback / softback
$38.00 USD - Electronic book text

Other Titles in LITERARY CRITICISM / Semiotics & Theory

Bergson, Eliot, and American Literature

Paul Douglass
Mar 2025 - University Press of Kentucky
$40.00 USD - Paperback / softback
$40.00 USD - Electronic book text

Women in Wartime

Paula R. Backscheider
Dec 2021 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$99.95 USD - Hardback
$34.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$34.95 USD - Electronic book text

Material Ambitions

Rebecca Richardson
Nov 2021 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$99.95 USD - Hardback
$34.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$34.95 USD - Electronic book text

Other Titles in Literary theory

Women in Wartime

Paula R. Backscheider
Dec 2021 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$99.95 USD - Hardback
$34.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$34.95 USD - Electronic book text

Material Ambitions

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Nov 2021 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$99.95 USD - Hardback
$34.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$34.95 USD - Electronic book text

Behaviorism, Consciousness, and the Literary Mind

Joshua Gang
Nov 2021 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$94.95 USD - Hardback
$34.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$34.95 USD - Electronic book text