Conclusion: Why Cognitive Science Matters Now

  • Michael A. Winkelman
Part of the Cognitive Studies in Literature and Performance book series (CSLP)


Throughout the Songs and Sonnets, one flashy mark of wit on display is the author’s self-consciousness. Donne’s verse is not just metaphorical, it is also frequently meta-referential. Self-reflexively, it keeps reminding audiences of its own status as love poetry, like that weird moment in “The Indifferent” when he says: “Venus heard me sigh this song” (19). Moreover, Donne compulsively impugns the efforts of would-be rivals, for example, “they who write, because all write, have still / That excuse for writing, and for writing ill” (Sat2, 23–24). In this little book, likewise, I have striven to do more than the usual shovelling of interpretations onto a very large heap for composting. Rather, my analyses represent an explicit attempt to push literary studies in productive, innovative directions—in part by giving the lie to some of the insidious, fundamental errors behind prevailing schools of thought. As Donne’s ill-fated contemporary Sir Walter Ralegh put it in “The Lie”: “Tell schools they want profoundness, / And stand too much on seeming.” In this regard, experimenting with and modeling neo-Darwinian approaches so as to shift our perspective may prove more important than how convincing or outré readers find my specific glosses.


Cognitive Approach Paradise Lost Fundamental Error Explicit Attempt Celestial Motion 
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© Michael A. Winkelman 2013

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  • Michael A. Winkelman

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