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‘Something else, then something else again’: neuroscience and connection-making in contemporary poetry.

Mort, Helen (2014) ‘Something else, then something else again’: neuroscience and connection-making in contemporary poetry. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis establishes a dialogue between neuroscience and contemporary poetry, based on Bakhtin’s principle of dialogicality (1981) and presents a novel approach to combining two disciplines usually regarded as separate. The contention of the thesis is that neuroscientists and poets are often concerned with the same questions about human consciousness and seek to explore the same ‘mysteries’ and that the perspective offered by each field can be greatly enriched by the other (Burke and Troscianko, 2013). I define and develop the approach I call ‘neuropoetics’, setting close thematic studies of key poets (including Norman MacCaig, Paul Muldoon and John Burnside) and qualitative data drawn from interviews with contemporary poets in dialogue with texts and ideas from the domain of neuroscience, notably McGilchrist (2009), Ramachandran (2011), Trimble (2007) and Shermer (2011), but also including Libet et al (1983), Turner and Poppel (1983), Rizzolati (2004), Seung (2013) and others. In this thesis I relate the work of each of the contemporary poets in my study to key issues in contemporary neuroscience (specifically metaphor, patternicity, negative tropes and free will) according to the dialogical principles established at the start. I then draw the work of all three poets together in relation to the themes of memory and self-identity. In conclusion, I evaluate this thesis alongside recent fMRI studies of creative writing and consider how the two approaches could be combined in a future enquiry that gives equal weight to poetry and neuroscience.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > School of English (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Miss Helen Mort
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2015 12:35
Last Modified: 01 Jan 2018 01:18
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9449

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