ENSO Seminar Series

The Novel as Lifeworld Technology.

Karin Kukkonen

University of Oslo
Dec. 7, 2023, 11 a.m. UTC // Dec. 7, 2023, 11 a.m. in UTC
Novels take a central space in the lifeworlds of many readers. Readers spend days, if not weeks, with the literary text, following the adventures of protagonists and experiencing the world through their eyes. How does a bland piece of printed text achieve such engagement? In this talk, I propose to link work on the embodied dimension of language and reading with the idea that literary texts work as a “lifeworld technology”. In the technophenomenology of Don Ihde (1990), telescopes, for example, enable perception beyond the reach of what we can normally see. Similarly, I argue, literary texts extend the range of human cognition and experience in readers beyond the reach of the everyday. The argument draws on work on embodied aspects of language, the extended mind argument, as well the notion that “realism” of the novel depends in particular on inscribing these texts successfully in readers’ lifeworlds.

Link to join/watch the seminar: https://youtube.com/live/_i8jE-PmLAQ?feature=share

Recommended Reading

How the Novel Found its Feet: 4E Cognition and Eighteenth-Century Fiction. (Kukkonen, K.)

Lies and Sorcery (Elsa Morante)
Recommended reading from the 'commercial break' section of the talk, this is the first novel we've had included in our recommendations. The link is to a glowing review of a recent translation, which will be easier to find than the edition Karin showed during the session.