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The Literary Mind: The Origins of Thought and Language

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  96 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
We usually consider literary thinking to be peripheral and dispensable, an activity for specialists: poets, prophets, lunatics, and babysitters. Certainly we do not think it is the basis of the mind. We think of stories and parables from Aesop's Fables or The Thousand and One Nights, for example, as exotic tales set in strange lands, with spectacular images, talking animal ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published December 17th 1998 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 1996)
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Mar 19, 2009 Elaine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: inquisitive minds
Mark Turner belongs to a cadre of linguistics scholars who examine in depth the way ordinary people - indeed, all speakers of a language -- utilize metaphor, metonymy and various modes of mental mapping in all their speech. Unlike his colleagues, writers like George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Turner focuses on the interface between syntax and semantics, and shows, for instance, how an utterance like "people banded together to force him into defeat" takes our perceptions of space, such as pushing s ...more
David Teachout
Jul 28, 2015 David Teachout rated it it was amazing
Having read Lakoff and Johnson's work "Philosophy in the Flesh", among others, the notion of language as fundamentally metaphoric or parable wasn't new to get through. What Turner does here though is a great job of introducing such thinking through the lens of story/narrative/parable with enough examples to drive home how we as human beings construct our communication. Such thinking is completely against the Chomsky notion of a spontaneously arising cognitive module ready-made with a full gramma ...more
Jul 30, 2011 Ben rated it really liked it
Starts off slow if you are already familiar with the idea of conceptual metaphor (called story and parable here), but develops the notion of blending spaces to explain how source and target interact selectively. Turner then runs with the idea that story, projection and parable are the rudiments of language and not the other way around. A compelling if under-footnoted argument.
Christina "6 word reviewer" Lake
Story = the basis of thought. Intriguing.
Mar 07, 2009 Abailart rated it it was amazing
Shelves: slowly-reading
Turner, Lakoff and Johnson provide not only a corrective to the positivism of Age 3 capitalism with its handmaidens of neuroscience (as ideology) and eternalism, but do so in such a beautiful and stimulating and human way.
Apr 07, 2013 Tatjana rated it really liked it
a background study on conceptual blending. Not an easy read, but worth the effort. closely linking literature and linguistics, it is one of the seminal books for 'the cognitive turn' in literary studies.
Public Words
Apr 21, 2008 Public Words rated it really liked it
Turner surveys neurological research to construct a theory of how the mind works that is surprisingly simple and powerful. A must-read for anyone who wants to know how everyone else thinks.
Sep 14, 2012 Ann rated it really liked it
Shelves: phd-books
very good, very useful. very dry.

Turner says that we relate basic actions to basic story formats, therefore, in our brains, that's why we internalise stories.
Apr 28, 2013 Cass rated it liked it
Great book. Turner has some very interesting ideas about the mind and the origin of thought and language. Not a beach read, but worth while.
May 15, 2009 Sarah added it
The Literary Mind: The Origins of Thought and Language by Mark Turner (1998)
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“Common or default recruitments are a phenomenon of thought in general: we are always ready to use default conceptual connections as we think. It is important to recognize, however, that common, default recruitments do not give us fixed basic concepts: we can always unplug the default connections; they are, in technical jargon, “defeasible.” They look stable and fixed sometimes, but only because they are entrenched.” 0 likes
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