Integrating Minds: Blending Methods in The King Is Alive and Twelfth Night

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


Through Levring and Jensen’s The King Is Alive and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Helms discuss two ways to integrate inference and imagination. The King Is Alive—an appropriation of King Lear—exemplifies a story where inference frames strongly imaginative character building. Twelfth Night illustrates how inference and imagination might be integrated through Mark Johnson’s theory of conceptual blending: in the case of Duke Orsino, inference and imagination can blend together to produce ambiguity and surprise. A reading of Orsino could be wholly imaginative (focusing on his melancholy) or wholly inferential (focusing on his social role and authority as Duke). When Orsino threatens to kill Cesario in the final act, these two interpretations suddenly combine into one via conceptual blending, the combination of discrete inputs into a coherent, gestalt-like whole.


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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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