Information about the MLA Session on Cognitive Approaches to Literary Character

Welcome! This page contains links to the papers that will form the basis of the session on Cognitive Approaches to Literary Character that will be held at the MLA Convention in Philadelphia on Friday, December 29, from 3:30 - 4:45 p.m. in the Loews Hotel, in Commonwealth Hall A1. This session is sponsored by the Cognitive Approaches to Literature Discussion Group; executive committee members include Frederick Aldama, Mary Crane, Nancy Easterlin, Liz Hart, and David Herman.

Anyone planning to attend the panel is encouraged to download these papers and read them in advance, since the panelists will not be presenting the papers
in their entirety during the session itself. Rather, this will be a roundtable discussion, in which each person has about 12 minutes to synopsize his or her main ideas and then put those ideas in dialogue with those of the other panelists.

Papers will be available in pdf format by November 15 (or shortly thereafter) by clicking on the titles listed below. If you have any problems accessing the pdf versions of the papers after November 15, or any questions about the session itself, please contact me, David Herman, at herman.145[at]

Session 531. Cognitive Approaches to Literary Character (presiding: David Herman, Ohio State University)

1. Ralf Schneider (University of Bielefeld, Germany), "Cognition and the Reading of Literary Character: Approaches, Problems, and Perspectives"; also, click here for a diagram associated with the paper

2. Isabel Jaén-Portillo (Yale University), "Didactic Narratives: Literary Characters and Human Learning Processes"

3. Mary Isbell (University of Connecticut-Storrs), "Conceptual Blending in Joyce's Ulysses"

4. Kate Elkins (Kenyon College), "Fragments of Memory: Proust's Characters as Nonarchival Markers"