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Michel Roland

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  • “We begin by assuming that there is a difference between the kind of reading that people do when they read Marcel Proust or Henry James and a newspaper, that there is a value added cognitively when we read complex literary texts,”
  • “We begin by assuming that there is a difference between the kind of reading that people do when they read Marcel Proust or Henry James and a newspaper, that there is a value added cognitively when we read complex literary texts,”
  • Why do we read fiction? Why do we care so passionately about nonexistent characters? What underlying mental processes are activated when we read?
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  • using snapshots of the brain at work to explore the mechanics of reading
  • Blakey Vermeule, an associate professor of English at Stanford, is examining theory of mind from a different perspective. She starts from the assumption that evolution had a hand in our love of fiction, and then goes on to examine the narrative technique known as “free indirect style,” which mingles the character’s voice with the narrator’s. Indirect style enables readers to inhabit two or even three mind-sets at a time.
  • “To give us an incentive to monitor and ensure cooperation, nature endows us with a pleasing sense of outrage” at cheaters, and delight when they are punished
  • “but that fiction gives us insight into evolution.”
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