Probability Designs: Literature and Predictive Processing

ISBN : 9780190050955

Karin Kukkonen
224 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Mar 2020
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In Probability Designs, Karin Kukkonen proposes a new perspective on the complex role of predictions and probabilities in the dynamics of literary narrative. Predictive processing, an emerging account of cognition in neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy, provides the theoretical backdrop for an investigation of how literary texts shape readers' expectations and experience. Through deft analysis of the literary canon in a variety of cultures and languages, she constructs a comprehensive model of probability in a novel's plots, immersive appeal, and potential for reflection. Linking predictive processing to the idea that culture and cognition always develop in tandem, Kukkonen then sketches a place for literature and literary form in this exchange - a mode of exploratory thinking that takes language and writing to the next level.

Chance encounters, last-minute rescues, and coincidences launch Kukkonen's investigation of the literary manipulation of predictions. Through an enlightening blend of cognitive sciences and literary theory, Probability Designs enriches scholarly debates in literary studies and sheds light on how vital literature is for human thought.



Introduction: Literature and Predictive Processing

I: Narrative Design

1. Plots and Probability Transformations

2. Probability Designs

3. The Height of Drop

II: The Embodied Reader

III. Into the Mental Library

1. Intertextual Precision Expectations

2. Things That Did Not Happen

3. Reading by Proxy

4. Artificial, In the Best Sense of the Word

IV: An Argument From Design

1.Otto's Novel

2. Literature as a Designer Environment

3. The Cognitive Work of Form



About the author: 

Karin Kukkonen is Professor in Comparative Literature at the University of Oslo. Her work investigates how the novel emerged as a genre designed for particular cognitive and emotional engagements and how the poetics of earlier periods and cognitive poetics today can speak to each other. At the University of Oslo, Kukkonen heads the interdisciplinary research and teaching initiative Literature, Cognition and Emotions (2019-2023).

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