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Reading the Mind: Cognitive Science and Close Reading

  • Nicholas R. Helms
Chapter
Part of the Cognitive Studies in Literature and Performance book series (CSLP)

Abstract

Helms enters the debate about the usefulness of character criticism, joining critics such as Michael Bristol, Jessica Slights, and Paul Yachnin in arguing for a criticism that considers characters as if they were real people living in recognizable worlds. Mindreading is the human ability to look at a person or a literary character and contemplate what that person is thinking, feeling, and planning. Drawing particularly on the work of Simon Baron-Cohen and Alvin Goldman, Helms reviews contemporary cognitive science and the philosophy of mind to identify two methods of mindreading: inference (the theory-theory of mindreading) and imagination (the simulation theory of mindreading). Helms adds to this conversation by applying cognitive science to discussions of character in Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas R. Helms
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA

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