Saturday, April 26, 2008

Marche, Stephen. "Reading the Brain Reading." TORONTO STAR April 19, 2008.

More on cognitive criticism / neuroaesthetics: Vladimir Nabokov said that a work of art shouldn't make you think, it should make you shiver. If the budding field of neuroaesthetics takes off in the way its adherents hope, we may soon be able to chart this shiver on a series of graphs, break its effects down into specific components, isolate the active ingredient of literary greatness, and – who knows? – synthetically produce it. I find the idea attractive. It would save us all the fuss and bother of writing and reading and thinking about writing and reading. Until then, we will continue to have debates like the one raging over the pages of the most recent Times Literary Supplement. Back in September of 2006, novelist A.S. Byatt published an article arguing that neurobiology, and its analysis of synaptic chemical "grammar," might contribute valuable insight to literary criticism. That piece sparked much debate and earlier this month, Raymond Tallis, an professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Manchester, responded with a wonderfully lively attack on her argument: Science has no place in the literary conversation, he says. Neurobiology get lost. He uses the occasion to dismiss a new anthology called Evolutionary and Neurocognitive Approaches to Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts as well. The movement seems to be spreading and Tallis is having none of it. . . . Read the rest here: For further links on this subject, please visit:

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