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How do writers represent cognition, and what can these representations tell us about how our own minds work? Refiguring Minds in Narrative Media is the first single author book to explore these questions across media, moving from analyses of literary narratives in print to those found where so much cultural and artistic production occurs today: computer screens.

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Expanding the domain of literary studies from a focus on representations to the kind of simulations that characterize narratives in digital media, such as those found in interactive, web-based digital fictions and story-driven video games, David Ciccoricco draws on new research in the cognitive sciences to illustrate how the cybernetic and ludic qualities characterizing narratives in new literary media have significant implications for how we understand the workings of actual minds in an increasingly media-saturated culture.

Amid continued concern about the impact of digital media on the minds of readers and players today, and the alarming philosophical questions generated by the communion of minds and machines, Ciccoricco provides detailed examples illustrating how stories in virtually any medium can still nourish creative imagination and cultivate critical—and ethical—reflection. Contributing new insights on attention, perception, memory, and emotion, Refiguring Minds in Narrative Media is a book at the forefront of a new wave of media-conscious cognitive literary studies.


2016 Runner-up & Honorable Mention for the
N. Katherine Hayles Award for Criticism in Electronic Literature

Refiguring Minds in Narrative Media reconfigures the old primal scene, turning the allegorical figure from foe to familiar, subject no more to repression but to remediation, a process that articulates the old and new. Ciccoricco reads fearlessly across platforms and genres, weaving into his network of resonance a new identity for mindful stories. This will be a crucial book for anyone who cares about the present and future of fiction.”

Stuart Moulthrop, author of Victory Garden and Hegirascope


“It’s exciting to see cognitive narrative theory being productively applied to all sorts of new media, and especially so when it’s done as well as this. David Ciccoricco takes a rigorous and learned look at examples of digital fiction, video games, and even print novels, and the results are invariably impressive and highly stimulating. His perceptive insights into his examples reveal important new ways to think about narrative from a cognitive perspective.”

Alan Palmer, author of Fictional Minds


“In this beautifully written book, David Ciccoricco uses print and digital narrative as springboards for the discussion of major cognitive issues such as memory, perception, attention, and emotion. . . .  His close readings of digital texts, especially games, lift any doubt about the ability of their medium to provide a novel and aesthetically stimulating narrative experience.”

Marie-Laure Ryan, editor of Narrative across Media and co-editor of Storyworlds across Media


“Any project that brings empirical-scientific ideas into the study of literature needs to do certain things well if it is going to succeed in the contested field of approaches to literature. Its imported main ideas need to be made clear in themselves; they need to be supported by adequately strong,cited support from the actual scientific research; and they need to be situated clearly in relation to the surrounding context of humanistic scholarly ideas. Close reading of the words of the text(s) needs to be at least as important, both qualitatively and quantitatively, as anything else. Ciccoricco’s Refiguring Minds does all of these things quite well. I find it to be a strong entry in the growing area of cognitive literary studies.”

Tony Jackson REVIEW ESSAY in Poetics Today


 “Ciccoricco writes in a clear and engaging style that conveys complex ideas with ease, making this work as enjoyable to read as it is informative… Because of its deft and penetrating analyses as well as its interdisciplinary approach, this volume will prove invaluable for both the beginning scholar and the expert alike.”

—Howard Christian, REVIEW in Diegesis


“Ciccoricco continues the quiet daring of the University of Nebraska Press’ interdisciplinary Frontiers of Narrative series… [creating] models for emerging literary research at the intersection of cognitive science, phenomenology, and narrative theory.”

—David Rodriguez, REVIEW in Memory Studies Journal


“Ciccoricco offers analyses that are never less than interesting, he points the way to a vast collection of interesting primary and secondary literature, and he is an enthusiastic advocate of new and challenging narratological developments.”

—Luc Herman & Bart Vervaeck, REVIEW in Image & Narrative Journal


“The book as a whole serves as a strong example of how literary studies might productively draw on the contemporary sciences of mind. Ciccoricco is extremely diligent throughout, and his assimilation and explication of a wide range of cognitive reading alone will make his study hugely beneficial to others working in the burgeoning field. His cognitive research is matched by an equally impressive engagement with both long-established and very new narratological and literary theory.

—Jamie Redgate, REVIEW in the Digital Humanities Quarterly (11.2)