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The Style of Gestures

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The Style of Gestures

Embodiment and Cognition in Literary Narrative

In this volume Guillemette Bolens examines the ways in which artists, authors, and readers draw on skills, sensorimotor capacities, and embodied knowledge when creating and experiencing artistic and literary works. In so doing, Bolens offers a new literary perspective on gesture studies and the role of embodied cognition in narrative.

At the cutting edge of interdisciplinary inquiries into gesture, style, narratology, cognition, and literature, this work brings together academic expertise in literary studies with a consideration of neuroscientific and cognitive findings. Bolens studies the relevance of kinesic intelligence—our ability to understand the meaning of body movements, postures, gestures, and facial expressions—to the interpretation of literature. Through her discussions of works by John Milton, Jane Austen, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, and major medieval authors, Bolens shows how our experience of creative works draws on forms of cognition that are grounded in our corporeality.

This book represents a crucial contribution from a literary scholar to the exciting new field of embodied cognition. With a foreword by well-known neuroscientist Alain Berthoz, The Style of Gestures convincingly makes the case that embodied cognition is essential to the reception, understanding, and enjoyment of art and literature.