AbstractHuman experience is inherently temporal and involves placing events, symbols, and actions in a temporal scheme. This article deals with a specific aspect of temporal experience as it relates to reading and experiencing narrative fiction. Within an enactive understanding of human cognition, we propose a view of literary reading as a process of participatory sense-making between a reader and a storyteller. The enactive theory of participatory sense-making maintains that agents, by enacting their own sense-making, directly and partially constitute the sense-making of other agents. Sense-makers in interaction navigate two orders of normativity: their own and that of the interaction itself. Linguistic sense-making (languaging) opens up further possibilities for understanding complex spatially and temporally distributed forms of social interactions such as narrative interactions. Reading a narrative is one such example of mutually constituted navigation between an interaction dynamic and interactors’ sense-making. The reader completes and co-authors emergent textual meaning and a textually emerging storyteller guides and anticipates the multiple temporal displacements, realized linguistically, that a reader has to experience in the process of reading. We explore the participatory structure of a narrative through its temporal unfolding and the specific, non-linear nature of the temporal dynamics of interacting with a storytelling agency. In particular, narrative interactions are seen as modulations in the pacing of a given narrative’s unfolding. It is suggested that the reader’s enactment of such temporally realized pacings constitutes a better description of narrative immersion than its traditional understanding as a simulation of spatial situatedness.
Cognitive Semiotics – de Gruyter
Published: May 30, 2018
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