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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

Лошадь, стул и пианино: сравнительный героизм и теория заражения

С. 60-73.

Leo Tolstoy’s infection theory of What Is Art? (1899) is explored in the article as an early stage of today’s reflection on enactive reading and the reader’s embodied mind in cognitive literary studies. A comparative treatment is given to Tolstoy’s Kholstomer (Strider, 1886) as the perfect sample of the defamiliarization technique (priyom ostraneniia) (Shklovsky 1917) and William H. Gass’s “Don’t Even Try, Sam” (2004) and “Soliloquy for a Chair” (2012). The purpose of this study is to determine how animal or object narrators may affect the empathetic affordance of conventionally realist and (post)modernist texts. Do the habitual placement of the diegetic narrator into the center of narrative and the resultant configuration of secondary characters impair readerly sensitivity, when they are maintained from a horse’s, piano’s, or chair’s stance? What does a surface glance at some differences between authorial approaches propose for an answer to this question? How can “unnatural narration” enrich our notions of heroism and centrality?