By M. Winkleman, Michael A. Winkelman
Investigations into how the mind truly works have resulted in outstanding discoveries and those findings hold profound implications for examining literature. This examine applies fresh breakthroughs from neuroscience and evolutionary psychology that allows you to deepen our figuring out of John Donne's Songs and Sonnets.
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Additional info for A Cognitive Approach to John Donne’s Songs and Sonnets
The sixth, a test case in combining neuropharmacology with literary interpretation, compares the “refin’d Love” of “The Extasie” to the effects of the drug Ecstasy. In the seventh, “Sighs and Tears: Biological Costly Signals and Donne’s ‘Whining Poëtry,’” the Petrarch Factor and the Falseness Problem in works by Donne and others are interrogated. “The triple Foole” anchors chapter 8, “‘Verse That Drawes Natures Workes, from Natures Law’; or, Prolegomenon to a Darwinian Defense of Literature,” which ponders the profound and useful emotional effects literature can have on us.
Nor let thy lookes our long hid love confesse” (29–30, 48). “Elegie: Going to Bed” states that “all women . . are mystick books, which only wee / (Whom their imputed grace will dignifie) / Must see reveal’d” (40–43). And INT RODUCT ION 15 in “The Perfume,” about a secret affair, the suspicious mother of the lady “notes thy palenesse, blushing, sighs, and sweats” (22). In “A Valediction forbidding mourning,” conversely, Donne inverts the typical meaning of these features. The soulmates “care lesse, eyes, lips, and hands to misse,” which establishes that their “refin’d” love is superior to sensual “dull sublunary lovers love” (13, 20; my italics).
Search for evidence will lead him into the dreary and antiseptic laboratory, to testing with Fechner the effects of triangles and rectangles, to inquiring what kinds of colors are suggested by a line of Keats, or to measuring the motor discharges attendant upon reading it. If animals could read poetry, the affective critic might make discoveries analogous to those of W. B. Cannon about Bodily Changes in Pain, Hunger, Fear and Rage—the increased liberation of sugar from the liver, the secretion of adrenin from the adrenal gland.
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