From representation to enactment: temporal perspectives on literary objects in East and Central European structuralism and Ingarden’s phenomenology

TitleFrom representation to enactment: temporal perspectives on literary objects in East and Central European structuralism and Ingarden’s phenomenology
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsMrugalski, M
JournalFrontiers of Narrative Studies
Paginations146 - s171
Date Published2018///
ISBN Number2509-4882
Keywordsaesthetical experience, direct realism, enaction, point of view, time-consciousness

Considering that enacitivsm emerged in rebellion against the representativism of first-generation cognitive science, an enactivist approach to narrative, which after all does relate events, situations, people, necessitates a directly realistic (i. e. anti-representationalist) concept of perspective on literary objects. Ingarden’s description of the spatio-temporal properties of the cognizing of the literary work, in the process of which the reader transgresses the realm of signs (representation) toward embodied and culturally embedded cognition of objects and events in a presented world, may serve as a prototype for an enactive approach narrative, provided the theory in question is situated in its original context, for example that of Ingarden’s ongoing discussion with structuralism regarded at this juncture as a representationist stance. In the first step, I am referring to the philosophical tradition of direct realism, which was apparently invigorated by the theories of embodied and enactive cognition, to propose a way of conceiving first-person perspective on literary objects and events, first-person and temporal perspective on objects being the royal road to all sorts of enaction. In the second step, I am tackling the issue of point of view in East and Central European structuralism by recalling its most general context of the dialectical relationship between synchrony and diachrony. The interpretation of linguistic signs by the receiver is a space in which structuralism and Ingarden’s phenomenology concur as they share a similar model of receptive temporality, rooted in Husserl’s description of the inner consciousness of time and aiming to reduce the ambiguity of linguistic units and increase the predictability of meaning. In Ingarden, however, there is a threshold between the linguistic and the extralinguistic elements of the literary work, which are conceived in a directly realistic manner. I specifically recall the notion of “objectification,” which was suppressed by that of “concretization,” as a borderland between indirect (semiotic) and indirect (objectual and enactive) representation. In the conclusion, I point to the major differences between present-day cognitivist aesthetics and Ingarden’s approach, which was immersed in the culture of his time, and ask whether these differences impede us to achieve as interesting results as Ingarden’s.


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ENN is the European Narratology Network, an association of individual narratologists and narratological institutions. ENN aims to foster the study of narrative representation in literature, film, digital media, etc. across all European languages and cultures.