Roberta Capotorti

«The Joyful and Dynamic Spark» of Literature: A Cognitive Approach to the Recherche

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Throughout the Recherche, Proust reflects on the meaning of his work, identifying it in the capacity of writing to solicit knowledge in the reader’s mind through an imaginative variation on a conventional representation of the world. Cognitive friction effects that poetic language generates, establishing with the reader a form of affectively charged cooperation through not only a conceptual or imaginative involvement but also a kinesthetic one: this is how the language can continue to reverberate for a long time in the reader’s body and mind, in the form of perceptual and sensorimotor implications. We propose to clarify this aspect linked to the sensation of movement, showing that its writing generates perceptive simulations that intersect the sensorimotor and introspective registers, leading the reader to assume a new posture that perceptually involves him in the interpretation of the text. If the real challenge of Proustian work lies in the metaphorical nature of writing that constantly shifts the reader’s expectation from a simple representation of reality to a recreation of the world, we would like to show that it is precisely through a process of incarnation of the sentence in its bodily and kinetic perception that this cognitive, introspective and sensory recreation becomes possible.


  • Literature
  • Cognition
  • Kinesthetic Empathy
  • Marcel Proust’
  • s Recherche
  • Theories of Reading


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