Journal Articles

June 2023 - Vol.53 / No.2
Neuronarratives of Affliction: Revisiting Embodied Cognition and Corporeality in Lisa Genova’s Left Neglected
Author : Hsin-Ju Kuo
Keywords : Lisa Genova, Left Neglected, neuronarratives, phenomenology of illness, corporeality
In analyzing Lisa Genova’s novel Left Neglected as an epitome of neuronarratives, this paper explores the intersections of literary studies and cognitive neuroscience. As both a novelist and neuroscientist, Lisa Genova adeptly amalgamates her comprehension of the human brain’s functionality with her ability to render individual experiences and subjective perceptions of brain injury or malady. In Left Neglected, the main character Sarah Nickerson experiences an unanticipated accident and subsequently grapples with “hemispatial neglect” or “left neglect,” engendered by injury to the right hemisphere of her brain. Sarah endures the ramifications of attention deficit and labors to acknowledge the left sides of her body, her space, and her encompassing environment, thereby radically altering her perceptions of reality in quotidian life. This article scrutinizes the novel through the lens of the phenomenology of illness, accentuating the notions of spatial bodily awareness, absence in presence, and corporeality. By probing into Sarah’s endeavors to acclimate to her constraints and reconfigure her relationship with her body and surroundings, the novel offers a glimpse into the experiences of women afflicted with illnesses and disabilities within the context of gender norms in the mainstream society. Furthermore, this article investigates individuals’ potential for cultivating a reconstituted subjectivity with limited capacity. Drawing upon insights from cognitive neuroscience and literary studies, this research aspires to furnish an intricate analysis of how the novel delineates the complexities of the human mind and body when confronted with adversity.
“The past is a place full of energy and imagination”: Photographic Seeing and Memory in Colum McCann’s Songdogs
Author : Chi-min Chang
Keywords : Colum McCann, Songdogs, photographic seeing, memory
Songdogs, Colum McCann’s first novel, is a remarkable depiction of how photography re-conceptualizes and reconfigures memory. This novel tells the story of how the protagonist, Conor, retraces his parents’ past experiences and relationships through the photographs taken by his father. In Conor’s connection to and recollection of the past, McCann highlights the mechanical intervention of photography and the visual codes of its images in reconstructing the past, recreating memories, and entangling past-present relation. The exploration of the mechanical intervention unveils social replacement or displacement as photography repositions the photographer, the photographed, and the viewer in relationships. The intervention takes place between Conor and his parents, since the subject of most of his father’s photographs is his mother. But, as the viewer, Conor feels embarrassed and bewildered and does not know how to situate himself while looking at the sexy or nude images of his mother. Moreover, these photos trigger Conor’s memory of his mother’s stress and suffering after his father publishes these photos. The interrogation of the visual codes of photographs reveals that there are two features of photographic seeing: one is metaphoric and the other, metonymic. In addition, it is owing to photographic seeing that the past is re-imagined and memory, revamped. Prominently, the reconfigured memory does not merely refashion the past-present relation but demonstrates Conor’s negotiation and reconciliation with the past. Photographic seeing in Songdogs thus brings forth a vision of memory which is less a representation of the past than a place full of energy and imagination.
A Mosaic in Mutation: The Divergent and Transgressive Grotesquerie of China Miéville
Author : Subham Mukherjee、Arunima Ghosh
Keywords : China Miéville, New Weird, H. P. Lovecraft, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, grotesque, polymorphic teratology
This paper seeks to explore China Miéville’s use of the grotesque in his New Weird novum. Through Miéville’s literature, we shall study the grotesque as a tool of affective mutability and difference. Without being subservient to fairy-quest logics, his work rejects the rigid structural compressions and challenges the traditional narratology of the fantastic. Miéville’s materialist radicalization of the grotesque, present throughout his divergent worldbuilding, enables him to create a polymorphic teratology of molecular becoming. We intend to theorize the transmutability of heterotopic geographies as possibility spaces of co-existential indeterminacy; they produce events that agitate our onto-epistemological understanding of the monstrous. Miéville’s fractalization of the monster proper is potentialized with a heterogeneous expressivity that refrains from constructing rigid and totalizing benchmarks, thereby posing a non-conformist challenge to genre-conforming models in fantasy. Estranging from his precursors, especially those who trailed the Lovecraftian vein, Miéville addresses the overuse of stock archetypes and the demarcation problem that made the monster unintelligible and immobile, and experiments with the shifting potential of genres and subgenres without getting subjected to classifiable categorizations. With a special focus on his King Rat (1998) and Kraken (2010), our objective is to address this elastic breathability in Miéville’s transgressive and creative grotesquerie, to interpret the grotesque as a heuristic tool of extreme potentialities, and to conceptualize his abcanny as a revitalizing agency of dissension intrinsic to his literature with which he effectuates a teratocultural shift and confronts the stagnancy perpetuated by his ancestors of the fantastic.