The emergence of mind in Henry James’s notebook material
The case of the tales
Inscribed in the field of cognitive narrative theory, this paper asks, and attempts to answer, a number of questions about the early emergence of mind in James’s notebook material for his short fiction. These questions essentially turn on the metarepresentational and aspectualizing potential of notebook entries in genetic relation to the finished tales, that is, on their capacity to present the projected storyworld, from its very conception, as a function of the subjectivity of one or several characters in the cognitive role of metarepresentational sources, or else as a dementalised lump of content to be aspectualised later in the process of execution. Analysis of the relevant notebook material yields a polarity between epistemic and contentual entries, and reveals a set of cognitive phenomena based on the alteration or continuity of the primitive balance of sources which allows one to conclude that James’s characteristic concern with the mental dynamics of his narratives, rather than being a compositional addition, was deeply embedded in his earliest fictional projects.
Keywords: cognitive narrative theory, Henry James, metarepresentation, aspectuality, notebook material, tales
Published online: 15 September 2021
Cosmides, Leda & John Tooby
Egeth, Marc & Robert Kurzban
Gordon, D. J.
Hayes, Kevin J.
James, Henry[ p. 92 ]
Throesch, Elizabeth L.
White, Peter A. & David P. Younger
Zunshine, Lisa[ p. 93 ]