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Diegesis : Interdisziplinäres E-Journal für Erzählforschung
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  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Online) 2195-2116
Published by Bergische Universität Wuppertal Homepage  [1 journal]
  • About This Issue

    • Authors: Editors / Herausgeber*innen
      Abstract: This special issue of DIEGESIS explores the phenomena of mind-wandering and attention in reading literature, utilizing concepts of cognitive narratology and literary studies in general. While recent advances in the cognitive sciences and interdisciplinary attention studies have led to a better understanding of attention and distraction as mental processes and cultural phenomena, these topics are still an emerging field in literary studies that will lead to numerous new areas of inquiry. The papers collected here are the results of a graduate research programme, funded by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation, coordinated by our guest editors Sibylle Baumbach and Karin Kukkonen. They outline the potential of such areas for future narrative research by offering analyses of mind-wandering and attention in English, German, and Russian narrative texts. The issue opens with an assessment, co-authored by Karin Kukkonen and Sibylle Baumbach, of the current state of research on mind-wandering and attention in the cognitive sciences and cognitive literary studies leading to a taxonomy of literary devices that foster or inhibit mind-wandering and attention in literary texts. Focusing on different aspects of mind-wandering and attention, the following contributions offer new approaches for analyses of race, metafiction, narrative perspective, as well as problems of translation, and outline the challenges connected to the empirical measurement of mind-wandering and attention. Leonie Bartel’s contribution explores the poetics and politics of ‘white attention economies’, based on an analysis of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Amandus Hopfgarten and Theresa Krampe’s article examines connections between attention, mind-wandering, and metafiction in German children’s and young adult literature, thus covering texts that have largely been neglected by cognitive narratology. Jonas Wieschollek likewise underlines the importance of broadening the corpus to include a wider scope of national literatures by illustrating the key role of mind-wandering in Ivan Turgenev’s Asya, while foregrounding the potentials, but also conceding the limits, of translating key concepts of cognitive literary studies to other national literatures. Finally, Tina Ternes and Florian Kleinau explore whether and how mind-wandering can be measured in reading literature, based on an empirical study, and suggest that mind-wandering is an important process which contributes to (rather than obstructs) text comprehension. While these contributions focus on specific examples from a range of literary texts, they propose new approaches in the field of cognitive narratology on a larger scale, prompting further research in the field of literary mind-wandering and/or literary attention. This issue also features an interview with Lars Bernaerts on the way narrative cycles work, and on transgeneric narratology. A review of Marco Caracciolo’s Narrating the Mesh. Form and Story in the Anthropocene circles back – if we may put it that way – to our past issue on Narrative Theory and the Anthropocene. The interdisciplinary potential of pragmatics as a discipline that links literary studies and linguistics (and philosophy) appears in the review of Sandrine Sorlin’s The Stylistics of “You.” Second-Person Pronoun and its Pragmatic Effects. Finally, a conference report presents the results of a meeting that took place at the Freie Universität Berlin in 2021 and addressed framing narratives within the premodern textual production in Arabic and adjacent literary traditions. Readers of DIEGESIS will thus find once more the diversity of current approaches well represented in our journal: from the cognitivist and empirical approaches of the guest dossier to narrative genre theory, narratological pragmatics, ecocriticism, and intercultural and historical narratology. We hope you enjoy this diversity, and that you find inspiration for your work here, as well as reasons for submitting further reviews or critical responses that would contribute to the discussion in this thriving field of narrative research. Happy browsing! Matei Chihaia on behalf of the editors of DIEGESIS
      PubDate: 2022-12-22
      Issue No: Vol. 11, No. 2 (2022)
  • The Shape of Things to Come

    • Authors: Lars Bernaerts
      Abstract: In this interview, Lars Bernaerts discusses narratology as a tool to analyze the form, functioning, and circulation of narrative, introduces his current research project on the novelistic cycle, and explains what we can learn from “narratological science fiction.”
      PubDate: 2022-12-22
      Issue No: Vol. 11, No. 2 (2022)
  • Mind-Wandering and Attention in Literature

    • Authors: Karin Kukkonen, Sibylle Baumbach
      Abstract: Following a short review of studies of attention, attention economies, and mindwandering with regard to narratives, this paper aims to establish attention and mindwandering as key concepts for the study of literary narratives. Based on an analysis of representations and enactments of both phenomena in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway, we will outline the different levels of mind-wandering and attention in literary texts as well as the different levels on which narratives ‘make minds move.’ Offering a methodological toolkit for investigating aspects of mind-wandering and attention in literary narratives, including key attractors and distractors, this paper sets the frame for the contributions published in this special issue and, more generally, aims to offer the foundation for future studies in this field.
      PubDate: 2022-12-22
      Issue No: Vol. 11, No. 2 (2022)
  • White Attention Economy in To Kill a Mockingbird

    • Authors: Leonie Bartel
      Abstract: Combining cognitive stylistics, cognitive narratology, and critical race theory, the paper establishes the concept of a ‘white attention economy’ as a tool for analysing systemic discrimination inscribed in (real world) attention patterns and its reflection in literary fiction. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) works with such a ‘white attention economy’, that is, selective narrative attention privileging a white perspective, which exploits and reinforces readers’ habitual attention patterns. Most strikingly, the novel’s character descriptions present white characters as default. However, the novel also breaks with key principles of a white attention economy and thus challenges it, encouraging readers to reflect upon their own attention patterns. This is mainly achieved through two different joint attention frames: (1) the representation of joint attention between characters, which (2) readers are invited to join cognitively.
      PubDate: 2022-12-22
      Issue No: Vol. 11, No. 2 (2022)
  • Attention and Mind-Wandering in Contemporary German Children’s and
           Young Adult Metafiction

    • Authors: Amandus Hopfgarten, Theresa Krampe
      Abstract: In this article, we draw upon cognitive sciences, narratology, and media studies to investigate the interrelation between metafiction, attention, and mind-wandering in two works of German children’s and young adult metafiction: Michael Ende’s Die unendliche Geschichte (The Neverending Story) from 1979 and Cornelia Funke’s Tintenherz (Inkheart) published in 2003. Both works are attention narratives in that they employ textual strategies such as foregrounding, metalepsis, narratorial commentary, or intermedial references to guide their readers’ attention and point them to aspects of their mediality. Moreover, we explore metafiction’s effects on mind-wandering, that is, moments in which our minds stray from the here and now to engage in introspective thought and imagination. We contend that metafiction, due to its high attentional demands, can reduce the overall frequency and duration of mind-wandering, but that it can also, on the other hand, facilitate text-related mind-wandering, associated with productive, on-task reflections and meta-awareness.
      PubDate: 2022-12-22
      Issue No: Vol. 11, No. 2 (2022)
  • We Wonder If They Mind

    • Authors: Tina Ternes, Florian Kleinau
      Abstract: The study investigates the content and triggers of mind-wandering (MW) in readers of fictional texts. It asks whether readers’ MW is productive (text-related) or unproductive (text-unrelated). Methodologically, it bridges the gap between narratological and data-driven approaches by utilising a sentence-by-sentence, self-paced reading paradigm combined with thought probes in the reading of an excerpt of A. L. Kennedy’s “Baby Blue”. Results show that the contents of MW can be linked to text properties. We validated the role of self-reference in MW and found prediction errors to be triggers of MW. Results also indicate that the content of MW often travels along the lines of the text at hand and can thus be viewed as productive and integral to interpretation.
      PubDate: 2022-12-22
      Issue No: Vol. 11, No. 2 (2022)
  • Linguistic and Cultural Specifics of Mind-Wandering in Ivan
           Turgenev’s Asya

    • Authors: Jonas Wieschollek
      Abstract: In this article I argue that the choice of language and specific cultural contexts play an important role for literary representations of mind-wandering. While this has been pointed out before in both mind-wandering research and Cognitive Literary Studies (CLS), I enhance this thesis in two directions, focusing on Ivan Turgenev’s short narrative Asya (1858). After a brief discussion of the role of linguistic contexts in CLS, I will first give a detailed account of the linguistic and cultural specificities that influence the representation of mind-wandering in Russian literary texts like Asya. As I will show, episodes of mind-wandering in this text rely on linguistic characteristics and cultural contexts of Russian language and literature that can hardly be conveyed in translation. Secondly, I suggest that the real challenge for culturally diverse CLS research lies in discerning the fine line between a language’s specific linguistic properties and common features of literary representations of mind wandering, as Asya contains both specific Russian and more general features of mind-wandering.
      PubDate: 2022-12-22
      Issue No: Vol. 11, No. 2 (2022)
  • More than One Thousand and One Nights

    • Authors: Johannes Stephan
      Abstract: Report on the Conference “Framing Narratives: New Perspectives on Premodern Textual Production in Arabic,” Freie Universität Berlin (Germany), November 18–19, 2021
      PubDate: 2022-12-22
      Issue No: Vol. 11, No. 2 (2022)
  • Exploring Narrative’s Anthropocene Affordances. Marco Caracciolo’s
           Narrating the Mesh”

    • Authors: Eric Morel
      Abstract: Marco Caracciolo: Narrating the Mesh. Form and Story in the Anthropocene. Charlottesville, VA / London: University of Virginia Press, 2021 (= Under the Sign of Nature: Explorations in Ecocriticism). 240 pp. USD 34.50. ISBN 978-0-8139-4583-5
      PubDate: 2022-12-22
      Issue No: Vol. 11, No. 2 (2022)
  • Pragmatically Disentangling You. Sandrine Sorlin’s Stylistics of

    • Authors: Denise Wong
      Abstract: Sandrine Sorlin: The Stylistics of “You.” Second-Person Pronoun and its Pragmatic Effects. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2022. 233 pp. GBP 85.00. ISBN 978-1-108-83302-8
      PubDate: 2022-12-22
      Issue No: Vol. 11, No. 2 (2022)
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