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  1. What does 'literary' mean and what makes something literary?
  2. Publisher Description
  3. The Literary Sense : Edith Nesbit : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

Those writings that are primarily informative—technical, scholarly, journalistic—would be excluded from the rank of literature by most, though not all, critics. Certain forms of writing, however, are universally regarded as belonging to literature as an art. Individual attempts within these forms are said to succeed if they possess something called artistic merit and to fail if they do not.

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What does 'literary' mean and what makes something literary?

The nature of artistic merit is less easy to define than to recognize. The writer need not even pursue it to attain it. On the contrary, a scientific exposition might be of great literary value and a pedestrian poem of none at all. The purest or, at least, the most intense literary form is the lyric poem, and after it comes elegiac, epic , dramatic, narrative, and expository verse.

Most theories of literary criticism base themselves on an analysis of poetry , because the aesthetic problems of literature are there presented in their simplest and purest form. Poetry that fails as literature is not called poetry at all but verse. The Greeks thought of history as one of the seven arts, inspired by a goddess, the muse Clio. The essay was once written deliberately as a piece of literature: its subject matter was of comparatively minor importance.

Today most essays are written as expository, informative journalism , although there are still essayists in the great tradition who think of themselves as artists. Now, as in the past, some of the greatest essayists are critics of literature, drama , and the arts. Some examples of this biographical literature were written with posterity in mind, others with no thought of their being read by anyone but the writer. Some are in a highly polished literary style; others, couched in a privately evolved language, win their standing as literature because of their cogency, insight, depth, and scope.

Many works of philosophy are classed as literature. The Dialogues of Plato 4th century bc are written with great narrative skill and in the finest prose; the Meditations of the 2nd-century Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius are a collection of apparently random thoughts, and the Greek in which they are written is eccentric. Yet both are classed as literature, while the speculations of other philosophers, ancient and modern, are not.

Certain scientific works endure as literature long after their scientific content has become outdated. This is particularly true of books of natural history, where the element of personal observation is of special importance. Oratory , the art of persuasion, was long considered a great literary art. The oratory of the American Indian , for instance, is famous, while in Classical Greece, Polymnia was the muse sacred to poetry and oratory.

Today, however, oratory is more usually thought of as a craft than as an art. Most critics would not admit advertising copywriting, purely commercial fiction , or cinema and television scripts as accepted forms of literary expression, although others would hotly dispute their exclusion. The test in individual cases would seem to be one of enduring satisfaction and, of course, truth.

Publisher Description

Available from Amazon. Reviews of The Literary Mind "By blending neuroscience and literary history in The Literary Mind , Turner has created a story of his own, certain to set billions of neurons firing.

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The Toronto Globe and Mail. Go to review. Discover Magazine. Go to full review. Among this book's greatest strengths are its detailed discussions of both visual and verbal examples, drawn from Proust and the Thousand and One Nights ; news articles; familiar iconology such as pictures of the Grim Reaper ; and of how narrative processes that might be thought merely "literary" are essential to ordinary processes of constructing a sense of location in space and time.

Throughout, Turner manages his complex argument in clear, fluent prose entirely accessible to undergraduate as well as more advanced readers. Turner concludes by rejecting Noam Chomsky's theory of language. Because Chomsky's syntactical machine fails to account for the narrative categories conspicuously displayed by the grammars of all natural languages case, tense, aspect, person, deixis , Turner's argument is highly persuasive. Written in a crystal-clear style, Turner's book is a triumph of objective literary studies and an example of intelligence, open-mindedness, and intellectual courage.

It cogently proves that the same cognitive mechanisms that serve us to make sense of our world also build literary fictions. Modern Philology. Bringing together so much from literature, folklore, linguistics, philosophy, and even neuroscience, The Literary Mind offers a boldly unified view of thinking. An elegant bridge between two worlds? Other mixed blended metaphors apply to this book provided they tell the reader that this is an intelligent text, equally valuable to literary scholars and cognitive scientists. This book will be a marvelous way for people to get into cognitive science. Kemmer, Professor of Linguistics, Rice University "An incredibly rich overview of Turner's newest ideas, offering scholars in both the humanities and cognitive sciences an excellent tutorial on the literary mind.

He is a theorist of distinction, whose thinking on large and abstract issues is always firmly grounded in the particularity of texts. In addition, he has a command of technical and scientific concepts and vocabulary which is exceptional among literary scholars, and an elegance of thought and writing style which are exceptional in most areas of academic life.

He moves quickly from examples and cases of extreme apparent simplicity to the most probing and sophisticated expositions of cognitive processes and the workings of texts. It ends with the splendidly bold claim that this storying, literary mind comes first, before all other kinds of thought, even language itself. Adventurous and convincing, Turner's work launches a new understanding, not only of literature, but of what it is to have a human brain.

To read it is to think about thinking in a way you never have. Holland, Marston-Milbauer Professor of English, University of Florida "A startling philosophical investigation of the central role story plays in human cognition.

The Literary Sense : Edith Nesbit : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

With resort to the tools of modern linguistics, to the fascinating work of neuroscientists such as Gerald Edelman, to the literary inventions of Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, and Proust, Mark Turner. This is a challenging but rewarding book, filled with seminal concepts that will ramify throughout your understanding of consciousness, thought, literature, and the origin and nature of language.

Go to full review "Among those few literary scholars conversant with cognitive theory and neuroscience, Mark Turner is preeminent, and his work deserves to be widely known. The Literary Mind is the most recent, and the best, of a series of books in which Turner has not simply brought cognitive models to bear on figurative language and the study of literature, but has made notable contributions to cognitive science in the process.

Turner makes some very important, and very persuasive, arguments regarding central issues of cognition, language, and literature, writing with an authority earned from his previous work and with more cogency and flair than ever. Review published by the University Press of Virginia. The analyses are ingenious and well-founded.


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Turner's work must be highly recommended. What Turner has achieved is important to the study of literature. Indeed, on the present North American scene it seems to be one of the most promising approaches. The Semiotic Review of Books. The author focuses on three key principles of mind - story, projection, and parable. Turner agitates for a Copernican revolution of his own by speculating that language itself is not the origin but rather the complex product of parable.

I believe Turner's model to have important implications for a variety research domains, including cognitive science, linguistics, and literary and narrative theory. The importance of parabolic projection is, as Turner so brilliantly argues, not to be denied. From the jacket We usually consider literary thinking to be peripheral and dispensable, an activity for specialists: poets, prophets, lunatics, and babysitters. Certainly we do not think it is the basis of the mind.