Cultural Models - Julia Vaeßen


Julia Vaeßen, "Cultural Models and the Construction of Literary Character: Toward a Cognitive and Cultural Theory of Reception"

Supervisor: Sven Strasen, Publication: 2018

The mental construction of literary characters is one oft he central topics in literary scholarship. Moreover, it was one of those central topics that were very intensely and controversially discussed in narratology. After the dominance of structuralist and post-structuralist approaches during the late 20th century, the cognitive approaches of Schneider and Culpeper dominated the discussion for the first few years of the 21st century.

These overall models, however, were not extensively updated as new research on individual aspects of character construction appeared. Moreover, Schneider's and Culpeper's models came under attack because they are based on cognitive approaches that lately have been labeled "1st generation Cognitive Approaches". These first-generation critics who unsurprisingly claim to be the new, the 2nd generation, hold relies on a concept of cognition that is too abstract and computational and disregards the embodied nature of cognition. To put it briefly, it becomes evident, that Cilpeper's and Schneider's models for some time have failed to be the universally accepted standard models.

This is the state of the art on which the current Ph.D. thesis reacts. In doing so it sets itself three refreshingly immodest goals:

1. To integrate recent findings on individual aspects of character-construction into an overall model of characterization.

2. To lay the theoretical groundwork for empirical research in that field.

3. To overcome the supposed opposition between the 1st and the 2nd generation in Cognitive Literary Studies.