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Prof. Nigel Fabb (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow): The literary linguistic perspective and its implications for cognitive approaches to aesthetics (Kognitionswissenschaftliches Abteilungskolloquium)

Lecturer(s)Nigel Fabb
Contact personDr. habil. Rul von Stülpnagel
DateThursday, 2nd May 2024, 14:15 - 15:45
LocationHebelstraße 10, Raum 03-013 Freiburg Germany

I explain what generative linguistics has said about metrical poetry using a combination of underlying representations and ordered rules or ordered constraints.  In particular, I consider two issues: (i) the counting of syllables into the line – which relates more generally to the psychological reality of the line, and (ii) the allowance for and constraints on variation, where the rhythm varies from the strict metrical pattern.  These problems are largely ignored in psychological accounts, and I ask how they might be studied; how linguistic theory might relate to psychological reality. Then I consider the variety of kinds of literature, and kinds of reader (including neurodivergent readers), and ask how a psychological account of literary reading might benefit from a much wider range of enquiry.  I criticise the focus in aesthetics on closure and good gestalts as good only for a certain type of literature.


Nigel Fabb is professor of literary linguistics at the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow UK, ). He has a BA in English from Cambridge (1980), and a PhD in linguistics (supervisor Noam Chomsky) from MIT (1984). He has published 12 books and many articles.

Online via zoom:

Meeting-ID: 699 6502 4181
Kenncode: ptJJW536M