EGH314A : Cognitive Poetics

Convenor(s): Dr Joanna Gavins


Please note: This module may or may not run in any individual session. Please check with the course Convenor.

General Information

This module explores the relationship between literature and the human mind, drawing on a range of academic disciplines; from literary theory to cognitive psychology, from literary linguistics to philosophy. The module considers how recent advances in the study of human cognition can enhance our understanding of the reading experience. Students will be introduced to a range of concepts from the cutting-edge of cognitive research and will be encouraged to investigate the ways in which this body of knowledge can be used as a means of exploring literature. We will examine, for example, the role of cultural and personal knowledge in the reading process, the conceptual structure of metaphor, how texts direct readers' attention, and the readerly experience of literary worlds.


You will have two separate learning hours each week. The first hour will take the form of an interactive lecture in which the whole group will discuss the recommended reading and the tutor will clarify and give examples of key theoretical ideas. The second learning hour will take the form of a smaller seminar and each week you will be encouraged to bring in your own short analysis of a literary text that you have chosen yourself, making practical use of the ideas introduced in the lecture hour. You will have the opportunity to discuss your analysis with other students and with the tutor. You'll need to prepare for the seminars by using your private study time to do the recommended reading and develop cognitive-poetic analyses for discussion in class.


For your first assessment, you will need to submit a learning diary on the module's private website. For the first six weeks you will log your weekly reading and write short reflective comments on each of the seminar discussions. The total word count for the diary is 1500 words and the assessment counts for 30% of the module grade. For the second assessment, you will be provided with guidance and suggestions for essay topics but will also be encouraged to pursue your own critical interests in consultation with the module tutor. The work will involve developing your critical engagement with the texts and concepts addressed during the course of the module in an essay of 3000 words worth 70% of the module grade.

Contact Details

Dr Joanna Gavins, 0114-222-0214

Information last changed: Thursday 07th of April 2016 :: 01:17:07 PM (BST)


The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK