ABSTRACT

The main use of neurophysiological research in literary study has been very general (e.g., in debates over whether literature is socially produced).1 This is unfortunate, as brain studies may bear directly and in detail on any topic treated in the preceding chapters (see, for example, Martindale, “Biological,” on creativity). Clearly, I cannot cover all these topics and all the relevant research in a single chapter. At the same time, I do not want to confine the chapter to generalities. I will therefore frame the following discussion in terms of one issue we have been considering, an issue for which recent brain research is, I believe, particularly consequential-literary emotion. I will begin by questioning some conclusions of the preceding chapter, including the conclusions of my own earlier work on emotion and memory. Though this discussion is focused on a particular issue, it should serve to illustrate how neurobiological research may enter into other areas of theory and criticism in literature and the arts.