RITMO Seminar Series: The Multiple Speeds of Literary Narrative (Karin Kukkonen, ILOS University of Oslo)

Professor Karin Kukkonen from ILOS University of Oslo will give a seminar lecture on "The Multiple Speeds of Literary Narrative".

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In the face of rapid digitization, reading a novel has emerged as the prime example of a “slow” and enriched experience. Along with other “slow” activities, such as slow food or meditation, reading literature seems to offer respite from the digital culture of acceleration. Traditional takes from literary aesthetics, such as Shklovsky’s defamiliarisation, point in a similar direction.

Informed by aesthetic theory, reading studies and cognitive approaches to literature, I propose to revisit this intuition. The physical reading speed of the eyes moving across the text might not be the same as the phenomenological experience of speed in reading. Indeed, I shall argue for a model of multiple speeds in narrative (in the predictive processing framework), that takes into account not only the reading of individual words, but also the rhythm of narrative events, the pacing of character’s and narrator’s words and the readers’ experience of flow while reading.



Karin Kukkonen is Professor in Comparative Literature at ILOS. She has published on narratology, cognitive approaches to literature, graphic novels and the eighteenth-century novel. Her forthcoming monograph, Probability Designs: Literature and Predictive Processing (OUP, 2020) develops a model for how literary texts extend the range of human thought through predictive processing and 4E cognition. At the Humanities Faculty, she convenes the interdisciplinary teaching and research initiative “Literature, Cognition and Emotions[KK1] ”. She has been awarded the University of Oslo’s Younger Researchers Award in 2019.

Published Aug. 19, 2019 5:27 PM - Last modified Mar. 26, 2020 4:18 PM