Human consciousness, long the province of literature, has lately come in for a remapping - even rediscovery - by the natural sciences, driven by developments in Artificial Intelligence, neuroscience, and evolutionary biology. But as the richest record we have of human consciousness, literature, David Lodge suggests, may offer a kind of knowledge about this phenomenon that is complementary, not opposed, to scientific knowledge. Writing with characteristic wit and brio, and employing the insight and acumen of a skilled novelist and critic, Lodge here explores the representation of human consciousness in fiction (mainly English and American) in the light of recent investigations in cognitive science, neuroscience, and related disciplines. How, Lodge asks, does the novel represent consciousness? And how has this changed over time? In a series of interconnected essays, he pursues this question down various paths: how does the novel's method compare with that of other creative media such as film? How does the consciousness (and unconscious) of the creative writer do its work? And how can criticism infer the nature of this process through formal analysis? In essays on Charles Dickens, E.M. Forster, Evelyn Waugh, Kingsley and Martin Amis, Henry James, John Updike and Philip Roth, and in reflections on his own practice as a novelist, Lodge brings to light - and to engaging life
"This book examines the emergence of modern consciousness as consciousness develops historically in one cultural form: prose fiction narrative. The book represents a critical history of crisis, arguably the most characterizing single word in the modern world and a major figuration or trope. Eugene Hollahan has studied the history of this important word within the development of the English-language novel, from Samuel Richardson to Saul Bellow. After establishing a heuristic model for such a critical history, Hollahan tracks the word (characterized by George Eliot in Felix Holt, the Radical as a "great noun") through two-and-a-half centuries of narratives by major novelists, with contextualizing excursions into discourses in related fields such as autobiography, philosophy, theology, and social science." "Hollahan contextualizes his study of English-language narrative fiction by examining the writings of crisis-rhetoricians in the eighteenth century (Thomas Paine), nineteenth century (Thomas Carlyle, J. S. Mill, and J. H. Newman), and twentieth century (Karl Barth, Edmund Husserl, T. S. Kuhn, and Richard M. Nixon). Such varied and powerful crisis-rhetorics establish a matrix of language and ideas for the crisis-centered novels Hollahan surveys. These novels include major works by Samuel Richardson, Walter Scott, Jane Austen, George Eliot, George Meredith, George Gissing, George Moore, D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Forster, James Joyce, Lawrence Durrell, Robert Coover, and Saul Bellow." "Hollahan's description of the crisis-trope interfaces with various critical issues such as canonical inclusion, reader response, and deconstruction. On the whole, his book acknowledges current critical issues but endeavors to remain basically a critical history. It attempts to demonstrate that the crisis-riddled modern world and the crisis-conscious novel are analogous and coeval." "Crisis begins as Aristotle's term for logical plot structuring, becomes Longinus's term for emotional exacerbation, and eventually enters into a variety of critical and narrative formulations: Matthew Arnold's cultural centrality, Henry James's existential aestheticism, Lawrence's self-defining sexuality, Marshall Brown's revolutionary turning point, Paul de Man's error-ridden criticism, Floyd Merrell's cut into the primordial flux, Durrell's reborn self, and Bellow's analysis of hysterical escapism. Broadly speaking, Hollahan argues that any crisis-trope will enable or even necessitate a unique confluence of writerly and readerly skills." "In Louis Lambert, Balzac urged: "What a wonderful book one would write by narrating the life and adventures of a word." The story Hollahan narrates fulfills Balzac's expectations as it depicts writer after writer working out influential representations of human life in terms of crisis-consciousness centering upon George Eliot's "great noun" crisis. Historically, Hollahan demonstrates, such consciousness comes to define modern humanity."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Explorations of Consciousness in Contemporary Fiction is a collection of essays examining the potential of the contemporary English-language novel to represent and inquire into various aspects of the human mind.
Science fiction explores the wonderful, baffling and wildly entertaining aspects of a universe unimaginably old and vast, and with a future even more immense. It reaches into that endless cosmos with the tools of rational investigation and storytelling. At the core of both science and science fiction is the engaged human mind--a consciousness that sees and feels and thinks and loves. But what is this mind, this aware and self-aware consciousness that seems unlike anything else we experience? What makes consciousness the Hard Problem of philosophy, still unsolved after millennia of probing? This book looks into the heart of this mystery - at the science and philosophy of consciousness and at many inspiring fictional examples - and finds strange, challenging answers. The book's content and entertaining style will appeal equally to science fiction enthusiasts and scholars, including cognitive and neuroscientists, as well as philosophers of mind. It is a refreshing romp through the science and science fiction of consciousness.
Ironic, playful, and multilayered, winner of three major prizes for the best Yugoslav novel of 1988, this beguiling novel-about-a-novel is set at an international literary conference in Zagreb. It begins with the death of an anti-Franco poet who slips into the pool of the intercontinental Hotel and continues with a rapid and entertaining chain of events involving espionage, sexual intrigue, murder, and a good deal of one-upmanship among the assembled academics. In the style of David Lodge, the novel is filled with colorful characters and hilarious scenes; but amid the lighthearted action Ugresic provides a serious and doubly outsidered perspective on the differences between the worlds of Eastern Europe and the West. Through the eyes of her Yugoslav and Russian characters Ugresic expresses the incredulity that many in Eastern Europe felt at the Western tendency to romanticize the "communist" world; simultaneously, through her American character, she explodes many of the myths of the West in the minds of Eastern Europe. In addressing issues of mutual cultural misunderstanding without attempting to impose artificial solutions to the problems, Ugresic has produced a truly successful multicultural novel.
The epistolary novel is a form which has been neglected in most accounts of the development of the novel. This book argues that the way that the eighteenth-century epistolary novel represented consciousness had a significant influence on the later novel. Critics have drawn a distinction between the self at the time of writing and the self at the time at which events or emotions were experienced. This book demonstrates that the tensions within consciousness are the result of a continual interaction between the two selves of the letter-writer and charts the oscillation between these two selves in the epistolary novels of, amongst others, Aphra Behn, Eliza Haywood, Samuel Richardson, Fanny Burney and Charlotte Smith.
The Consciousness-Raising Novel and the Women's Liberation Movement
Author: Lisa Maria Hogeland
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
Category: Literary Criticism
"Fascinating chapters on the relationship between fiction, the theoretical and political debates among women's and feminist groups, and the questions of sexuality . . . and race . . . merit broad readership and prove more culturally illuminating for their emphasis on popular fiction."--In Brief
A group of private individuals doing a remote viewing research project studying the nature of consciousness, come to believe their city, Washington, D.C., faces a catastrophic disaster in a few weeks that no one knows about, and that will change the world. This is the story of what they do with that knowledge.
Diasporic Writers and the Dynamics of Literary Experience
Author: Daphne Grace
This book deals directly with issues of consciousness within works of postcolonial and diasporic writers. It discusses fiction, autobiography and theory to re-formulate a "writing of consciousness", addressing contemporary cultural theory related to a wide range of dynamic writers and ground-breaking novels. A critical analysis of literature contextualises consciousness (understood here as the source of language and human creativity), and explores ways in which consciousness is involved in the creative process. Tackling the controversial nature of consciousness itself, the book argues that consciousness must be understood in its philosophical and social contexts. The idea of relocating consciousness calls for a new aesthetics and ethics of living in the diasporic world where we are all to some extent "migrant". The book explores notions of consciousness as alternative narrative structures to society, while expanding contemporary postcolonial theory beyond the limited dimension of power-based-on-violence to a more visionary exploration of experience based on consciousness as unity-in-diversity. Themes explored include sacred experience as empowerment; trauma, terror and the impact of consciousness; cosmopolitanism and globalisation; and the literature of human survival. Written in a lively and accessible manner the book will appeal to all readers who enjoy being on the cutting-edge of contemporary world literature.
Leading theorists examine the self-representational theory of consciousness as an alternative to the two dominant reductive theories of consciousness, the representational theory of consciousness and the higher-order monitoring theory. In this pioneering collection of essays, leading theorists examine the self-representational theory of consciousness, which holds that consciousness always involves some form of self-awareness. The self-representational theory of consciousness stands as an alternative to the two dominant reductive theories of consciousness, the representational theory of consciousness (RTC) and the higher-order monitoring (HOM) theory, combining elements of both RTC and HOM theory in a novel fashion that may avoid the fundamental deficiencies of each. Although self-representationalist views have been common throughout the history of both Western and Eastern philosophy, they have been largely neglected in the recent literature on consciousness. This book approaches the self-representational theory from a range of perspectives, with contributions from scholars in analytic philosophy, phenomenology, and history of philosophy, as well as two longer essays by Antonio Damasio and David Rudrauf and Douglas Hofstadter. The book opens with six essays that argue broadly in favor of self-representationalist views, which are followed by five that argue broadly against them. Contributors next consider connections to such philosophical issues as the nature of propositional attitudes, knowledge, attention, and indexical reference. Finally, Damasio and Rudrauf link consciousness as lived with consciousness as described in neurobiological terms; and Hofstadter compares consciousness to the "strange loop" of mathematical self-reference brought to light by Gödel's incompleteness theorems. Contributors Andrew Brook, Peter Carruthers, Antonio Damasio, John J. Drummond, Jason Ford, Rocco J. Gennaro, George Graham, Christopher S. Hill, Douglas R. Hofstadter, Terry Horgan, Tomis Kapitan, Uriah Kriegel, Keith Lehrer, Joseph Levine, Robert W. Lurz, David Rudrauf, David Woodruff Smith, John Tienson, Robert Van Gulick, Kathleen Wider, Kenneth Williford, Dan Zahavi
How do poems and novels create a sense of mind? What does literary criticism say in conversation with other disciplines that addresses problems of consciousness? In Paper Minds, Jonathan Kramnick takes up these vital questions, exploring the relations between mind and environment, the literary forms that uncover such associations, and the various fields of study that work to illuminate them. Opening with a discussion of how literary scholarship's particular methods can both complement and remain in tension with corresponding methods particular to the sciences, Paper Minds then turns to a series of sharply defined case studies. Ranging from eighteenth-century poetry and haptic theories of vision, to fiction and contemporary problems of consciousness, to landscapes in which all matter is sentient, to cognitive science and the rise of the novel, Kramnick's essays are united by a central thematic authority. This unified approach of these essays shows us what distinctive knowledge that literary texts and literary criticism can contribute to discussions of perceptual consciousness, created and natural environments, and skilled engagements with the world.
This pioneering book explores in depth the role of neurotransmitters in conscious awareness. The central aim is to identify common neural denominators of conscious awareness, informed by the neurochemistry of natural, drug induced and pathological states of consciousness. Chemicals such as acetylcholine and dopamine, which bridge the synaptic gap between neurones, are the 'neurotransmitters in mind' that form the substance of the volume, which is essential reading for all who believe that unravelling mechanisms of consciousness must include these vital systems of the brain.Up-to-date information is provided on: Psychological domains of attention, motivation, memory, sleep and dreaming that define normal states of consciousness. Effects of chemicals that alter or abolish consciousness, including hallucinogens and anaesthetics. Disorders of the brain such as dementia, schizophrenia and depression considered from the novel perspective of the way these affect consciousness, and how this might relate to disturbances in neurotransmission.(Series B)