W I L L I A M PA U L S O N Joseph Tabbi, Cognitive Fictions. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002. xxviii + 166 pp. $53.95; $17.95 paper. ovelists use language to transmit something of their understanding of the world to their readers. Often the emphasis falls on the world, even to the point of neglecting or concealing the processes of understanding that underlie its presentation. At the other extreme, the emphasis shifts to the understanding, or even to the understanding of the understanding. In this reflexive and cognitive turn, Joseph Tabbi contends, lies the greatest and most characteristic value of literary fiction for our time--a time when literature seems to be losing the dominant cultural role that the hegemony of print in the mediasphere had long secured for it. Avoiding the shopworn polemics between technophobes and Gutenberg-bashers, Tabbi turns away from questions about the literal survival of print literature in an electronic environment and takes up instead the question of what written fiction can do--perhaps uniquely well--to continue to play a vital and creative role within the overall field of cultural production and reflection. Tabbi, the editor of the online Electronic Book Review, is by
Contemporary Literature – University of Wisconsin Press
Published: Oct 28, 2004
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