Genre trouble : embodied cognition in fabliaux, chivalric romance, and Latin chronicle




Widner, Michael

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This dissertation examines the intersection between theories of body and of genre through the lens of cognitive science. It focuses, in particular, on representations of bodies in exemplars of fabliaux in Old French and Middle English, chivalric romance that feature the figure of Sir Gawain, and the Latin Chronicle of Bury St Edmunds. This dissertation establishes genre theory on cognitive-scientific ground by considering how embodied cognition influences both theories of genre and the representations of bodies. It argues that, rather than a container into which works fit, genre is a network of associations created in the minds of authors and audiences. This network finds expression in the bodies of characters, which differ across genres. It argues, moreover, that genre and bodies influence, in fundamental ways, interpretations of literary works. Finally, this work discusses the possibilities for future research using methods for quantitative textual analysis and data visualization common in the digital humanities.




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