Construal and Immersion: A Cognitive Linguistic Approach to Homeric Immersivity

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Classics and Cognitive Theory
EditorsPeter Meineck, William Michael Short, Jennifer Devereaux
Place of PublicationAbingdon/New York
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter3
Pages59-78
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781315691398
ISBN (Print)9781138913523
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameRoutledge handbooks

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Construal and Immersion: A Cognitive Linguistic Approach to Homeric Immersivity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    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