Narrative Control or Aesthetic Ideal: Cognitive Narrative Reading of Milan Kundera’s Life Is Elsewhere

AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 4, Number4. October   2020                                Pp.17 -34
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol4no4.2

Full Paper PDF

 

Narrative Control or Aesthetic Ideal: Cognitive Narrative Reading of Milan Kundera’s
Life Is Elsewhere
 

Sara Mechraoui
Independent Researcher, Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A

 

 

 

Abstract:
This study, which is inspired by Cognitive Poetics, aims to test the feasibility of its basic methods on the analysis of Milan Kundera’s novel Life Is Elsewhere (1973). Kundera’s style seems at first plain, but greater importance was given to his philosophical and psychological treatment of subjects than the narratological world that he creates. He brilliantly mixes many narrative techniques to expose his existential and aesthetic ideals. The aesthetic value of the novel studied under the cognitive stylistic approach in this study sought answers to the following question. How can Life Is Elsewhere (1973) be read from a cognitive linguistic perspective? The findings confirmed the relevance of the cognitive poetic approach to the narrow reading of Milan Kundera’s works. Life Is Elsewhere (1973) is a merit of narrative control in that the author allows the reader to live the life story of a young poet, to appreciate his ups and downs, at the same time, read his philosophical ideas about life and his artistic control of the novel. Though a cognitively inspired approach might seem odd at the thematic level, for a purely hermeneutic researcher, the level at which both author and reader would exchange meaning from the text is catered for in the rich textual world of the novel. The latter sustains the universality of the works and confirms the suitability of the cognitive poetic framework to any piece of literature.
Keywords: mental space theory, cognitive stylistics, text world theory, Life Is Elsewhere, Milan Kundera, aesthetic ideal

Cite as:  Mechraoui, S. (2020). Narrative Control or Aesthetic Ideal: Cognitive Narrative Reading of Milan Kundera’s Life Is Elsewhere. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 4 (4) 17 -34.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol4no4.2

References

Bal, M. (1997). Narratology Introduction to the Theory of Narrative (2nd ed.). Toronto and London: University of Toronto Press.

Barthes, R. (1977). S/Z (R. Miller, transl.). New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Bernaerts, L, de Geest, D ; Herman, L & Vervaeck, B. (2013). Stories and Minds: Cognitive Approaches to Literary Narrative. Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press.

Bortolussi, M., & Dixon, P. (2003). Psychonarratology: Foundations for the Empirical Study of Literary Response. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Brone, G., & Vandaele, J. (2009). Cognitive Poetics: Goals, Gains and Gaps: Applications of Cognitive Linguistics. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Chafe, W. (1994). Discourse, consciousness and time: the flow and displacement of conscious experience in speaking and writing. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Chatman, S. (1978). Story and Discourse Narrative Structure in fiction and film. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.

Cook, G. (1994) Discourse and Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Emmott, C. (1997). Narrative Comprehension A Discourse Perspective. Oxford, USA: Oxford University Press.

Fauconnier, G., & Turner, M. (2002). The Way we think: Conceptual binding and the mind’s hidden complexities. New York, USA: Basic Books.

Fludernik, M. (1996). Towards a ‘Natural’ Narratology. London: Routledge.

Gavins, J. (2007). Text World Theory: An introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Genette, G.  (1980). Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method, (J. E. Lewin, trans.). Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Harper, M. (1990). The role of the narrator in the novels of Milan Kundera, (Published Master of Arts Thesis). Texas Tech University, Texas, USA.

Herman, D. (2002). Story Logic: Problems and Possibilities of Narrative. Lincoln: University  of Nebraska Press.

Hrushovski, B. (1976). Segmentation and Motivation in the Text Continuum of Literary Prose: The First Episode of War and Peace. Papers on Poetics and Semiotics, (5). Tel Aviv University.

Jahn, M. (1997). Frames, Preferences, and the Reading of Third-Person Narratives: Towards a Cognitive Narratology. Poetics Today, 18(4), 441-67. DOI: 10.2307/1773182

Kohn, N. W. (2011). Collaborative fixation: Effects of others’ ideas on brainstorming. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 25(3), 359-371.

Kristeniansen, G.,  Achard, M.,  Dirven, R., & De Mandoza, I. , F. (2009). Applications of cognitive linguistics. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Kundera, M. (1973). Life Is Elsewhere. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

Kundera, M. (1984). The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York: Harper & Row  Publishers Inc.

Lakoff, G. (1987). Women, fire, and dangerous things. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Langacker, R. (1987). Foundations of Cognitive Grammar, Vol. I: Theoretical Prerequisites. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Mandler, J.M. (1984). Scripts, Stories and Scenes: Aspects of a Schema Theory, Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Palmer, A. (2004). Fictional Minds. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Potter, J. & Whetherell, M. (1987). Discourse and social psychology: Beyond attitude and behavior. London: Paul Chapman Publication Ltd.

Ricoeur, P. (1977). The Rule of Metaphor: Multidisciplinary Studies of the Creation of Meaning in Language (R. Czerny, trans.). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Rimmon-Kenan, S. (2002). Narrative fiction. London and New York: Routledge.

Ryan, M.L. (1991). Possible Worlds: Artificial Intelligence and Narrative Theory. Bloomington and Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press.

Schank, R.C. & Abelson, R. (1977). Scripts, Plans, Goals and Understanding. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Semino, E. (1997). Language and World Creation in Poems and Other Texts. London: Longman.

Sternberg, M. (2003) Universals of narrative and their cognitivist fortunes (I). Poetics     Today 24(2), 297–395.

Stockwell, P. (2002). Cognitive Poetics: An Introduction. London and New York: Routledge.

Stockwell, P. (2005). Stylistics and Cognitive poetics. In H. Veivo, B. Peterson, & M. Bolvinan (eds.), Cognition and literary interpretation in practice (pp. ?) Helsinki: University of Helsinki Press.

Stockwell, P. (2009). Texture: a cognitive aesthetics of reading. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Tannen, D. (1984). What’s in a frame? Surface evidence for underlying expectations.  In R.O. Freedle, (ed.), New Directions in Discourse Processing, (pp. 137–81).  Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Werth, P. (1999). Text Worlds: Representing Conceptual Space in Discourse. Harlow: Longman.

White, A. (1981). The Uses of Obscurity: The Fiction of Early Modernism. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Yang, Y. (2011). A cognitive interpretation of discourse deixis. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 1(2), 128-135.

165total visits,4visits today