Cognitive Foundations of Ethical Literary Studies




cognitive literary studies, literary reading, diversity, ethical judgement, aesthetic judgement


In the 1980s and 1990s, an ethical turn began to take place in literary studies and in the humanities in general, leading to an increased interest in exploring the relationship between literature and ethics. The field that deals with this topic is now called ethical literary studies or ethical criticism. One of the less explored areas of ethical literary studies is the relationship between ethics and cognitive aspects of reading. In this article, I therefore analyse the neurobiological foundations of literary reading. I consider reading as a technology consisting of various embodied mental, emotional, motor, sensory, memory and other cognitive processes. The temporal and spatial dimension of the processes, which I also call “openness”, is particularly important. The latter conditions the diversity of reading on an experiential level and, finally, the possibilities of the relationship between literature and ethics, namely in relation to literary characters, narratives, implicit and real authors and readers.


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How to Cite

Žunkovič, I. (2023). Cognitive Foundations of Ethical Literary Studies. Acta Neophilologica, 56(1-2), 75–89.



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