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Making mythopoeic meaning out of plants
Örebro universitet, Institutionen för humaniora, utbildnings- och samhällsvetenskap.ORCID-id: 0000-0001-6170-0666
2019 (Engelska)Ingår i: Cogent Arts and Humanities, E-ISSN 2331-1983, Vol. 6, nr 1, artikel-id 1687256Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

The article discusses literary and scientific discourse in relation to plant cognition. I argue that one purpose of literature is to let humans make meaning out of their environment. My focus is not on literature as fiction, or any a priori faculty of counterfactual construction. Rather, I consider literature as the inspired response to external phenomena. In this aspect, literature springs from outside; and this it shares with scientific explanation. But where science lays bare the mechanical laws of the universe, literature operates with compelling narratives of individual wills. I further suggest that the literary mode is specifically suited for envisioning non-human life. Poetic thought is considered as a mode of human cognition that, by suspending the distance between human and world, allows us to think modes of non-human cognition. In literature, we are able to represent those affects we share with other forms of biological life. My focus is on two literary representations of plant life and the blending of life forms in stories where people turn into plants. I start by considering how a few botanists have taken the literary mode as a negative point of departure for their attempts to explain plant behavior. Then, I muster two theoretical accounts in order to read two such stories. Henri and Henriette Frankfort’s description of mythopoeic thought is used as the starting point for an interpretation of Ovid’s take on the myth of Echo and Narcissus; and Roger Caillois’ “comparative biology” for a reading of Johan Borgen’s short story “Kaprifolium”.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Cogent OA an imprint of Taylor & Francis , 2019. Vol. 6, nr 1, artikel-id 1687256
Nyckelord [en]
Mythopoesis, plant studies, Ovid, Johan Borgen, plant cognition
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Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-77837DOI: 10.1080/23311983.2019.1687256ISI: 000494490700001Scopus ID: 000494490700001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-77837DiVA, id: diva2:1369549
Forskningsfinansiär
The Joint Committee for Nordic research councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS-HS), 2017-00015/NOS-HSTillgänglig från: 2019-11-12 Skapad: 2019-11-12 Senast uppdaterad: 2019-11-22Bibliografiskt granskad

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Making mythopoeic meaning out of plants(1648 kB)45 nedladdningar
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