Blending and Beyond: Form and Feeling in Poetic Iconicity
THE COGNITION OF LITERATURE, Isabel Jaén-Portillo and Julien Simon, (eds.), Yale University Press, Forthcoming
28 Pages Posted: 8 May 2009
Date Written: May 5, 2009
This paper looks at how blending theory needs to develop in order to account for literary creativity and thus provide a more comprehensive picture of human cognition. Exploration of the emotional, formal, and aesthetic affects of a literary text suggests ways in which literary analysis may illuminate cognitive processes and contribute to the development of a theory of aesthetic emotion. I argue that the synthesis of material-medial-affect modes needs to be modeled in order to capture the nature of a literary text in achieving poetic iconicity, the semblance of felt life through forms symbolic of human feeling. The opportunity for poetic iconicity occurs when the structural schemas that trigger the blending of material-medial modes are metaphoric in nature and are motivated by the feelings of lived experience. Analysis of an Emily Dickinson poem shows how metaphorical schemas blend feeling, form, and functional perspectives on our embodied experience of reality to create such poetic iconicity.
Keywords: blending, aesthetics, emotion, iconicity, Dickinson
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