A cognitive approach to spatial patterning in literary narrative

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2013
Thesis identifier
  • T13749
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • This thesis argues that spatial representation in literary narrative is governed by the order of the visual perceptual system. This study reviews three categories of space - landscapes, indoors and the body - within a data set of novels and argues that each reveals a systematic pattern of description. Using Chen's (2005) global invariant model of the visual primitive, it is argued that the patterns found here are 'holes in backgrounds' from the gestalt concept of 'suroundedness'. In consideration of the representative nature of these spatial categories this thesis also seeks to understand how these patterns, as a direct perceptual record, survive translation through the neural processes that support narrative production. Reviewing these neurological processes, specifically, episodic future thinking and language production - it is further argued here that the patterns are not interfered with by memory and language - they are maintained by them. Using the insights gained from these neural relationships this study applies these findings and performs a reading of a selection of modernist and postmodernist writers as a means of re-interrogating the relationship between visual perception and the text.
Resource Type
Date Created
  • 2013
Former identifier
  • 1032808