"Experiencing Narrative Worlds" by Richard J.              Gerrig

Experiencing Narrative Worlds On the Psychological Activities of Reading Richard J. Gerrig

Publication date:
23 Jun 1993
Yale University Press
288 pages: 210 x 140mm


What does it mean to be transported by a narrative—to create a world inside one's head? How do experiences of narrative worlds alter our experience of the real world? In this book Richard Gerrig integrates insights from cognitive psychology and from research in linguistics, philosophy, and literary criticism to provide a cohesive account of what have most often been treated as isolated aspects of narrative experience.

Drawing on examples from Tolstoi to Toni Morrison, Gerrig offers new analyses of some classic problems in the study of narrative. He discusses the ways in which we are cognitively equipped to tackle fictional and nonfictional narratives; how thought and emotion interact when we experience narrative; how narrative information influences judgments in the real world; and the reasons we can feel the same excitement and suspense when we reread a book as when we read it for the first time. Gerrig also explores the ways we enhance the experience of narratives, through finding solutions to textual dilemmas, enjoying irony at the expense of the characters in narrative, and applying a wide range of interpretive techniques to discover meanings concealed by and from authors.

Richard J. Gerrig is associate professor of psychology at Yale University.