Empirical Studies of Literature: A Sketch of the Territory

as mapped in Engl 694, not a guide to the field as a whole (viz., "theoretical" refers only to constructs oppositional to this version of empirical study)

Reading - feelings (anticipation, self-relevance, negative therapeutic), body, imagery; cognition, discourse processes, situation model; neuropsychology; relation to self (Rousseau's readers); memory (episodic); decentering; individuality; dehabituation (challenging conventions); point-driven, story-driven; frames (i.e., set towards); polyvalence; normative assumptions
Reader - experiential; relation to author/narrator; to implied reader; empathy; gender differences; reading communities (romance readers); as writer (slash); novice vs. expert; ethical effects (relation to outgroups); self-modification; self-theory; personality
Aesthetic - formal aspects: style, narrative, genres, discourse evaluations, foregrounding; literariness; coherence; indeterminacy of texts; sub- and non-literary; hypertext
Critical - reader response theory; the canon; receptive fallacy; interpretation; disregard of readers
Theoretical - anti-foundationalism ("essentialism"); ideology; conventions; inculcating class values; interpretive community; constructivism (creates the object)
Historical - emergence of "literature" perhaps in 18th C; growth of readership, especially for novels; a reading revolution; working class "native" readers, reading for self-improvement; decline of reading since 1970; media domination; simulacra
Genetic - babytalk; language play; relation to temporal arts (music, dance); role of family, education
Evolutionary - adaptive value of literature; "making special"; oral vs. literate reception; culture a part of biology; universals; mental modules (e.g., phonetics; theory of mind); origin related to play, ritual; dehabituation theory
Empirical research method - research design; sampling populations of readers; text features vs. text effects; text manipulation; qualitative / quantitative; exploratory, descriptive, hypothesis-testing; data collection: questionnaire, ratings, think-aloud, remindings, content analysis (top down vs. bottom up), behavioral measures (e.g., reading times); personality differences

DSM/29 Nov 2005 / Updated December 11, 2011