EUS4310 – Cognitive Poetics

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This is an elective master’s course developed within the Literature, Cognition, and Emotions research and teaching initiative.

Course content

This course provides an overview of the key concepts of cognitive poetics by first introducing the field and subsequently concentrating on a set of interrelated concepts, each of which is explained and explored by studying literary texts belonging to various genres and literary periods.

The concepts focused on include metaphor, metonymy, image schemata, and embodiment. We discuss the notion of conceptual metaphor in literature studies, specifically focusing on the conventionality and creativity of metaphors, and the relation of metaphor to blending (conceptual integration), embodied simulation, image schemata, and iconicity. The last two concepts are discussed beyond metaphor: image schemata as an inherent part of narrative representations, and iconicity as a process by which a product of human cognition connects with some aspects of the experienced world.

Further categories discussed include figure and ground, deixis and viewpoint, multimodality, as well as a brief introduction to the empirical study of literature. All the notions will be revisited in the concluding seminar session(s) on literary creativity.

The originals of all the literary texts discussed are either English or Norwegian, and, if not, translations are provided of the excerpts discussed. Students are encouraged to engage with the course topics by studying texts of their own choice, in which case translations of the text excerpts relevant for the general discussion in the seminars should be provided.

In addition to traditional teaching methods, we will use and further develop a full range of digital teaching materials, including short video lectures such as those already available on the LCE website (

Learning outcome

After completing this course, you will:

  • Have learned about interdisciplinary research connecting literature, linguistics, and psychology
  • Have gained an understanding of the main ideas and concepts of cognitive poetics;
  • Be able to analyze literary texts by applying these concepts;
  • Have an understanding of how our cognitive capacities underlie writing and understanding literature;
  • Have learned how to use an analytical toolbox that can be used for studying literature regardless of the language of the literary text.
  • Master skills, tools, and concepts relevant to effective communication and textual and discourse analysis in general.


The course is open to students enrolled in master’s programs at ILOS. Students enrolled in other master’s programs can apply for admission to the course if this is approved by their own academic program.

The course is designed as part of the teaching component developed in the framework of the Literature, Cognition and Emotions research and education initiative (Faglige prioriteringer III).


Seminar, two hours per week for 10 weeks. 

Obligatory activity:

In order to qualify for the exam (submission of term paper) students must submit a preliminary draft of their term paper by a stated deadline. Your preliminary draft must be accepted by the teacher in order for you to hand in your exam.

You are expected to come prepared to each seminar. This means that you have completed the assigned reading and any other assignments given in the reading pack.

You should be prepared to contribute to discussions throughout the term. 


The form of assessment is a term paper 10 standard pages long. You will be offered individual term paper supervision. You are expected to work on the assignment throughout the entire semester. This includes submitting an abstract and reference list, and a brief oral presentation of part of the analysis.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course







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