How Do I Know Thee?

Paper Text – $34.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3180-4
Publication Date
June 2015
Page Count
328 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

How Do I Know Thee?

Theatrical and Narrative Cognition in Seventeenth-Century France
Richard E. Goodkin

The classical period in France presents a particularly lively battleground for the tran-sition between oral-visual culture, on the one hand, and print culture on the other. The former depended on learning from sources of knowledge directly, in their pres-ence, in a manner analogous to theatrical experience. The latter became characterized by the distance and abstraction of reading. How Do I Know Thee? explores the ways in which literature, philosophy, and psy-chology approach social cognition, or how we come to know others. Richard E. Goodkin describes a central opposition between what he calls “theatrical cognition” and “narrative cognition,” drawing both on scholarship on literary genre and mode, and also on the work of a number of philosophers and psychologists, in particular Descartes’s theory of cognition, Freudian psychoanalysis, mid‑twentieth‑century be-haviorism, and the field of cognitive science. The result is a study that will be of inter-est not only to students of the classical period but also to those in the corresponding disciplines.

About the Author

RICHARD E. GOODKIN is a professor of French at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His books include Birth Marks: The Tragedy of Primogeniture in Pierre Corneille, Thomas Corneille, and Jean Racine (2000) and Les magnifiques mensonges de Madeleine Béjart (2013), a historical novel about the mistress and collaborator of Molière.

". . . provides fresh, insightful, stimulating, and useful new views of well-known and important early modern French texts, and it also provides tools for reading literary texts of any period and of any national culture. The clear and well-exemplified explanation of the differences between theatrical and narrative cognition makes a contribution to literary studies at all levels. Advanced researchers will find that Goodkin gives them new tools and helps solve mysteries that remain in classical texts, while even students in an introductory course on literary analysis could benefit from reading several chapters of this lucid book." —Modern Language Review