This special issue presents a “crossover” between two strands of contemporary narrative theory: a second-generation cognitive approach that foregrounds the linkage of stories, mind, and the human body; and an unnatural approach, which focuses on narratives that depart from and challenge everyday cognitive parameters, including those involved in so-called literary realism. In this introduction to the special issue, we take our cue from Franz Kafka’s “ Wish to Become a Red Indian” (a paragraph-long short story) to illustrate these ways of theorizing about narrative and to discuss the conceptual divides that separate them. From an unnatural perspective, the cognitive approach flattens narrative to real-world psychology; from a cognitive perspective, the unnatural approach ignores the way that every narrative, no matter how challenging or innovative, exploits our cognitive makeup. By examining these assumptions and by tracing the history of cognitive and unnatural models of narrative, this special issue seeks to move beyond a conceptual standoff between them. The essays collected in the issue demonstrate that it is possible to combine a cognitive approach with an interest in unnatural stories—or, conversely, an unnatural approach and attention to the cognitive and embodied dynamics of narrative. In addition to previewing the arguments advanced in the articles, this introduction explicates the innovative method of scholarly collaboration through which the articles came about, and the different results it produced in each case.

The first drafts of the essays in this special issue were presented in November 2016 at a workshop hosted by the Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm University (Sweden). The editors would like to thank Christer Johansson and Go¨ran Rossholm for making this workshop possible, and the participants for their input on the articles.

References

References
Alber, Jan
2009
Impossible Storyworlds — and What to Do with Them
,”
Storyworlds
1
:
79
96
.
Alber, Jan
2013
Pre-postmodernist Manifestations of the Unnatural: Instances of Expanded Consciousness in ‘Omniscient’ Narration and Reflector-Mode Narratives
,”
Zeitschrifi für Anglistik und Amerikanistik
61
, no.
2
:
137
53
.
Alber, Jan
2016
Unnatural Narrative: Impossible Worlds in Fiction and Drama
(
Lincoln
:
University of Nebraska Press
).
Bergen, Benjamin K.
2012
Louder than Words: The New Science of How the Mind Makes Meaning
(
New York
:
Basic Books
).
Bortolussi, Marisa; Dixon, Peter
2003
Psychonarratology
(
Cambridge
:
Cambridge University Press
).
Caracciolo, Marco.
2014a
The Experientiality of Narrative: An Enactivist Approach
(
Berlin
:
De Gruyter
).
Caracciolo, Marco.
2014b
Interpretation for the Bodies: Bridging the Gap
,”
Style
48
, no.
3
:
385
403
.
Clark, Andy.
2016
Surfing Uncertainty: Prediction, Action, and the Embodied Brain
(
Oxford
:
Oxford University Press
).
Damasio, Antonio.
2000
The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness
(
London
:
Heinemann
).
Duttlinger, Carolin.
2013
The Cambridge Introduction to Franz Kafka
(
Cambridge
:
Cambridge University Press
).
Easterlin, Nancy.
2012
A Biocultural Approach to Literary Theory and Interpretation
(
Baltimore
:
Johns Hopkins University Press
).
Fludernik, Monika.
1996
Towards a “Natural” Narratology
(
London
:
Routledge
).
Gibbs, Raymond W.
2005
Embodiment and Cognitive Science
(
Cambridge
:
Cambridge University Press
).
Herman, David.
2011
Introduction
,” in
The Emergence of Mind: Representations of Consciousness in Narrative Discourse in English
, edited by Herman, David,
1
40
(
Lincoln
:
University of Nebraska Press
).
Herman, David; Phelan, James; Rabinowitz, Peter; Richardson, Brian; Warhol, Robyn
2012
Narrative Theory: Core Concepts and Gritical Debates
(
Columbus
:
Ohio State University Press
).
Hutto, Dan.
2017
Getting into Predictive Processing’s Great Guessing Game: Bootstrap Heaven or Hell?
,”
Synthese
. .
Iser, Wolfgang.
1993
The Fictive and the Imaginary: Charting Literary Anthropology
(
Baltimore, MD
:
Johns Hopkins University Press
).
Iversen, Stefan.
2013
Unnatural Minds
,” in
A Poetics of Unnatural Narrative
, edited by Alber, Jan; Nielsen, Henrik Skov; Richardson, Brian,
94
112
(
Columbus
:
Ohio State University Press
).
Iversen, Stefan.
2016
Permanent Defamiliarization as Rhetorical Device; or, How to Let Puppymonkeybaby into Unnatural Narratology
,”
Style
50
, no.
4
:
455
62
.
Kafka, Franz.
2009
The Metamorphosis and Other Stories
, translated by Crick, Joyce (
Oxford
:
Oxford University Press
).
Kafka, Franz.
2013
Das Urteil und andere Prosa
(
Ditzingen
:
Reclam
).
Keats, John.
1935
The Letters of John Keats
, edited by Forman, Maurice Buxton (
Oxford
:
Oxford University Press
).
Kukkonen, Karin.
2016
Bayesian Bodies: The Predictive Dimension of Embodied Cognition and Culture
,” in
The Cognitive Humanities
, edited by Garrett, Peter,
153
67
(
London
:
Palgrave Macmillan
).
Kukkonen, Karin.
2018
The Curse of Realism: Cognitive Narratology and the Historical Dimension
,”
Partial Answers
16
no.
2
:
291
302
.
Kukkonen, Karin; Caracciolo, Marco
2014
Introduction: What Is the ‘Second Generation?
,”
Style
48
, no.
3
:
261
74
.
Mäkelä, Maria.
2013
Realism and the Unnatural
,” in
A Poetics of Unnatural Narrative
, edited by Alber, Jan; Nielsen, Henrik Skov; Richardson, Brian,
142
66
(
Columbus
:
Ohio State University Press
).
Nielsen, Henrik Skov.
2011
Fictional Voices? Strange Voices? Unnatural Voices?
,” in
Strange Voices in Narrative Fiction
, edited by Hansen, Krogh Per; Iversen, Stefan; Nielsen, Henrik Skov; Reitan, Rolf,
55
82
(
Berlin
:
De Gruyter
).
Nielsen, Henrik Skov.
2013
Naturalizing and Unnaturalizing Reading Strategies: Focalization Revisited
,” in
A Poetics of Unnatural Narrative
, edited by Alber, Jan; Nielsen, Henrik Skov; Richardson, Brian,
67
93
(
Columbus
:
Ohio State University Press
).
Richardson, Brian.
2001
Denarration in Fiction: Erasing the Story in Beckett and Others
,”
Narrative
9
, no.
2
:
168
75
.
Richardson, Brian.
2015
Unnatural Narrative: Theory, History, and Practice
(
Columbus
:
Ohio State University Press
).
Rizzolatti, Giacomo; Sinigaglia, Corrado
2008
Mirrors in the Brain: How Our Minds Share Actions and Emotions
, translated by Anderson, Frances (
Oxford
:
Oxford University Press
).
Sommer, Roy.
2012
The Merger of Classical and Postclassical Narratologies and the Consolidated Future of Narrative Theory
,”
Diegesis
1
, no.
1
, .
Zunshine, Lisa.
2006
Why We Read Fiction: Theory of Mind and the Novel
(
Columbus
:
Ohio State University Press
).
Zunshine, Lisa ed.
2015
The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Literary Studies
(
New York
:
Oxford University Press
).
Zwaan, Rolf A.
2008
Experiential Traces and Mental Simulations in Language Comprehension
,” in
Symbols and Embodiment: Debates on Meaning and Cognition
, edited by De Vega, Manuel; Glenberg, Arthur M.; Graesser, Arthur C.,
165
80
(
Oxford
:
Oxford University Press
).
This content is made freely available by the publisher. It may not be redistributed or altered. All rights reserved.