Phantasmal Intersubjectivity: Co-Presence and the Emersivity of Literary Characters

Phantasmal Intersubjectivity: Co-Presence and the Emersivity of Literary Characters

CompLab@Leeds is back for this academic year with a new series of seminars and events.

The series for 2017-2018 will be entitled ‘The forms of world/Worlds of form’ and we are glad to open it with the first seminar on 23 November 2017 in which we will cross the border between reality and the storyworld.

Our first speaker of the year will be Marco Bernini (Durham University) who will present the fascinating paper Phantasmal Intersubjectivity: Co-Presence and the Emersivity of Literary Characters. Starting from a study conducted with 400 readers of the 2014 Edinburgh Book Festival, Marco will discuss the phenomenon of ‘experiential crossing’ because of which characters seem to cross the boundary of the storyworlds and accompany or “stay with” the reader in real-world situations. Marco Bernini will analyse how this crossing is activated by a wide range of triggers, its phenomenology and the different degrees of felt presence in the reader’s minds, or even in their physical environment. While to date, cognitive literary studies have focused exclusively on the other direction of transit - namely, on how our real past experiences can sustain, enhance or modify our experience of a literary narrative -Marco Bernini will focus on how fictional elements from a storyworld can surface or transmigrate (or its storyworld immersivity). Building on, and adapting, models of narrative immersion, the paper will present a theory and a model for what it will be called the emersivity of literary characters.

Who: Marco Bernini is Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of English Studies and a core member of the interdisciplinary project on auditory-verbal hallucinations ‘Hearing the Voice' at Durham University. He is also a member of a project on 'Narrative and Complex Systems' at the University of York (Interdisciplinary Centre for Narrative Studies) and of the 'History of Distributed Cognition' project (University of Edinburgh). His research interests are equally partitioned into narrative theory (in particular cognitive narratology), modernist fiction (notably the narrative work of Samuel Beckett), and cognitive science. He also worked on the relationship between fictional writing, distributed cognition (the Extended Mind theory), and literary intentionality. He is now working on a monograph for Oxford University Press (forthcoming 2019) on Samuel Beckett and cognition titled Beckett and the Cognitive Method: Mind, Models and Exploratory Narratives.

Location: School of English, Alumni Room