Tradition and Influence in Anglo-Saxon Literature An Evolutionary, Cognitivist Approach

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-07-18
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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Connecting the theory of tradition with the phenomenon of influence, Michael Drout moves beyond current theories and extends his own work from How Tradition Works. This forward-looking study introduces a new methodology - lexomics, the use of computer-aided statistical analysis to identify influence - and integrates research from cognitive psychology and evolutionary biology with traditional, philological approaches to literature, specifically the Anglo-Saxon poems of second codicological booklet of the Exeter Book. An example of hard interdisciplinarity, Tradition and Influence contributes to Anglo-Saxon studies, oral tradition, evolutionary epistemology, and cultural theory.

Author Biography

Michael D.C. Drout is Professor of English and Director of the Center for the Study of the Medieval at Wheaton College, USA, where he teaches courses on Old and Middle English, Old Norse, and fantasy literature. He is the author of How Tradition Works: A Meme-Based Cultural Poetics of the Anglo-Saxon Tenth Century. His edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's Beowulf and the Critics won the Mythopoeic Society's scholarship award in 2003.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Influence and Tradition
1. A Theory of Influence
2. Influence and its Detection with Lexomic Analysis
3. Cultural Selection Pressure: Mnemonic and Cognitive Aesthetics
4. Adaptive Landscapes, Cognitive Prototypes, and Genre
5. Application of the Theory: Genre and Adaptive Radiation in Poems of the Exeter Book
6. Authorship, Authors, and The Anxiety of Influence
7. How Authorship Works: The Anxiety of Influence Explained by Memetics
Conclusion: This View of Culture

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