LCE Annual Lecture 2019: Siri Hustvedt on Poetic Logic

Siri Hustvedt, renowned author of novels, poems, essays as well as non-fiction, used her own mother and Jane Austen as starting point for a discussion of the cognitive sciences and the workings of the mind in a lecture entitled “Poetic Logic”.


The lecture was recorded and can be watched by clicking the video above.


“Poetic Logic” opens with a story about Hustvedt's mother’s vivid recollection of a passage from Austen’s Persuasion despite the fact that she is suffering from dementia. Her mother’s failing memory and the Austen text serve to ground Hustvedt's discussion of cognitive science, memory and emotion and the mind/body bifurcation of first generation theory in CCTM as well as the complexities and disagreements of second generation embodied theory. The foci here are on emotion and consolidation, mental space in comprehension of literature, and the development of intersubjectivity as crucial to understanding cognition. Poetic logic is borrowed from Vico, the anti-Cartesian, who is discussed, as are ancient spatial memory systems, neuroscience findings, but always returning to her mother as reader and the Austen text.


Siri Hustvedt is the author of a book of poems, four collections of essays, seven novels, and several works of nonfiction. In 2012 she was awarded the International Gabarron Prize for Thought and Humanities. Her novel The Blazing World was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Los Angeles Book Prize for Fiction 2014. Hustvedt has a PhD in English from Columbia University and is a lecturer in psychiatry at the Dewitt Wallace Institute for the History of Psychiatry in the Psychiatry Department of Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages.


Rolf Reber
Published Mar. 18, 2019 10:22 AM - Last modified May 14, 2020 2:02 PM