Bringing together cognitive science and literary analysis to map a new "media ecology," Cognitive Fictions limns an evolutionary process in which literature must find its place in an artificial environment partly produced and thoroughly mediated by technological means. Joseph Tabbi provides a penetrating account of a developing consciousness emerging from the struggle between print and electronic systems of communication.
Central to Joseph Tabbi's work is the relation between the arrangement of communicating "modules" that cognitive science uses to describe the human mind and the arrangement of visual, verbal, and aural media in our technological culture. He looks at particular literary works-by Thomas Pynchon, Richard Powers, David Markson, Lynne Tillman, Paul Auster, and others-as both inscriptions of thought consistent with distributed cognitive models, and as self-creations out of the media environment.
The first consistent and close reading of contemporary American writing in the light of systems theory and cognitive science, Cognitive Fictions makes needed sense of how the moment-by-moment operations of human thought find narrative form in a world increasingly defined by competing and often incompatible representations.
Joseph Tabbi is associate professor of English at the University of Illinois, Chicago. [via]