Patterns of Experience: Pragmatism, Perception, and Cultural Cognition in Modern American Literature, tracks experience-based forms of mimesis in the writing of Herman Melville, Henry David Thoreau, Ernest Hemingway, and Zora Neale Hurston. It is this project’s contention that these four American writers attend to the interplay among perception, conception, and culture in their narratives, and collectively articulate an anti-foundationalist theory of cognition in which our concepts are anchored in culturally-situated acts of perception. From Melville’s depiction of machine-mediated modes of perception in European navigational practices, to Hurston’s pragmatist epistemology in which her subjective, participatory engagement with Haitian and Jamaican culture is a source of narrative authority and objectivity, Patterns of Experience suggests that how we think is not a transparent process in which ideas get transferred directly from world to body to mind. At the same time, however, my project points to the search for alternative modes of perception and conception that are anchored in the cognitive environments of Thoreau’s Maine Woods and Hemingway’s African Savannah and the Gulf Stream.
Patterns of Experience: Pragmatism, Perception, and Cultural Cognition in Modern American LiteratureDoctoral Dissertation
|Contributor||Kate Marshall, Committee Member|
|Contributor||Laura Dassow Walls, Research Director|
|Contributor||Nan Z. Da, Committee Member|
|Degree Level||Doctoral Dissertation|
|Departments and Units|