Through the ages, listeners and readers of the Homeric epics have been impressed by their vividness (enárgeia): their capacity to encourage the audience to visualize the storyworld and to feel as if one is transported onto the scene. In this chapter, this famous Homeric quality will be approached as a form of immersion, a concept adopted from cognitive narratology referring to the ‘experience through which a fictional world acquires the presence of an autonomous, language-independent reality populated with live human beings’ (Ryan 2015: 9). Immersion is an embodied phenomenon: the text can be seen as a set of cues to construct an embodied (sensory and action) simulation of the described situation. Crucial to an embodied simulation is construal, the conceptualization of the situation in terms of a number of cognitive dimensions, such as specificity, salience, perspective, dynamicity, and focus of attention. An immersion approach allows us to analyze Homeric vividness by means of a wide range of textual cues, of a narratological character (such as narrative speed, order, focalization, narratorial visibility, and suspense) as well as of a linguistic character (such as vocabulary, tense-aspect, modality, deixis, case marking, and intonation units). Using Homer’s description of Calypso’s cave (Od. 5.59-73) as an example, I will argue that a text’s immersive power is not only dependent on the presence of salient sensory details but is brought about by a tight interplay of various textual dimensions.
|Title of host publication||The Routledge Handbook of Classics and Cognitive Theory|
|Editors||Peter Meineck, William Michael Short, Jennifer Devereaux|
|Place of Publication||Abingdon/New York|
|Number of pages||20|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
Allan, R. J. (2019). Construal and Immersion: A Cognitive Linguistic Approach to Homeric Immersivity. In P. Meineck, W. M. Short, & J. Devereaux (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Classics and Cognitive Theory (pp. 59-78). (Routledge handbooks). Abingdon/New York: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315691398-4