Chinese whispers Chinese rooms: the poetry of John Ashbery and cognitive studies

Kherbek, William (2014) Chinese whispers Chinese rooms: the poetry of John Ashbery and cognitive studies. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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This thesis examines the relationship of John Ashbery’s poetry to developments in cognitive studies over the course of the last sixty years, particularly the science of linguistics as viewed from a Chomskyan perspective. The thesis is divided into four chapters which position particular topics in cognitive studies as organising principles for examining Ashbery’s poetry. The first chapter concentrates on developments in syntactic theory in relation to Ashbery’s experiments with poetic syntax. The second chapter examines the notion of “intention” and “intentionality” in Ashbery’s writing from the perspective of cognitive “theory of context” writing, particularly the work of Deirdre Wilson and Daniel Sperber. The final two chapters consider cognitive questions using Ashbery’s poetry as a means of entry into controversial areas in formal cognitive studies. The third chapter examines his poetry in relation to temporality, suggesting that Ashbery’s experiments with time form “theories of consciousness” as they consciously manipulate readerly consciousness and attention. The final chapter explores perception in relation to Ashbery’s writing. The thesis argues that poetry can be conceived of as a less formalised method of cognitive study, and that poetic experiment can lead to significant reconceptualisations of cognitive notions which may play a role in framing critical questions for more formal experiments in cognitive science-philosophy going forward. The thesis concludes with reflections on the wider implications for literary cognitive studies in general.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Arts > English & Humanities
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2014 08:59
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2016 12:46

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