Cognitive Poetics, Conceptual Metaphors and Blending in German Travel Literature on India
In recent years there has been a growth in travel writing and its reception despite the effects of globalization that has brought the world closer than previous centuries. This trend can be further supported with the publication of recent anthologies and theoretical works that explore multi-dimensional approaches to travel writing, especially in the Anglo-American Literature and Cultural Studies. But this trend is not just limited to Anglo-American Studies and is equally present in German literature where travel literature also encompasses what is termed as “literature of movement” highlighting migrant literature, transnational and transcultural literature. The recently published Reiseliteratur der Moderne und Postmoderne (2017) can be seen as a path breaking study on the modern and postmodern German travel writing that calls for newer theoretical approaches to be relevant in the global context. My research contributes to this area by using the cognitive-scientific approach to the analysis of travel writing. My dissertation analyzes German travel narratives on India published from 1980 to the present, using concepts of cognitive-literary theory to study the linguistic and ideological aspects that represent the identities of “Self” and the “Other” in these texts. I examine different genres including personal diaries, novels, and poems, and I also include Austrian and Swiss travel narratives. Through close readings of the texts, and through analysis of cognitive metaphors, conceptual blends, and narrative perspectives present in the chosen text corpus, I show how German authors construct their own spatiality vis-à-vis their image of India, and how they convey this to their readers. In addition, my analyses demonstrate how the cognitive-literary method adds a new dimension to intercultural understanding, enriches the aesthetic value of such writings, and enables fresh literary interpretations.
William, Purdue University.
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