Lecture with Sibylle Baumbach on literary attention
Sibylle Baumbach speaks on attention and literature in a lecture entitled “From the Brain Attic to Moral Attention: Literary Attention and the Short Story”.
Photo: Ylva Østby
We live in a culture of distraction. The lure of 24/7 connectivity and the sheer unlimited access to information have given rise to growing attention anxieties and sparked a new interest in mechanisms of attention and distraction in cognitive psychology. These anxieties, however, are nothing new: instead, as Baumbach will argue in this talk, they have fundamentally guided the development of literary genres, especially the development of the short story. Based on selected case studies, from Arthur Conan Doyle to Ian McEwan and Hilary Mantel, she will further examine this connection and discuss to what extent short stories help promote a new kind of literary attention by countering cultural anxieties of inattention and engaging in a growing attention economy.
Sibylle Baumbach is professor of English literature at the University of Stuttgart. She works on cognitive literary studies, the aesthetics of fascination and literary attention. Find out more about her research here (external link)