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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.66, No.2, 399 ~ 407, 2020
Incorporated into the Brain: Cognitive Shakespeare and the Brain
Woosoo Park
The neo-cognitivists and brain scientists argue that the mind is the embodied brain, the material place in the body, and they try to explore the relationship between the material brain and the “immaterial” concepts of mind. A materialist understanding of the embodied mind/brain is much akin to the paradigmatic explanation of the relationship of the faculty psychology and humoral physiology prevalent in the Renaissance. What the humoral physiology is to the Renaissance psychologists is as the material brain is to the mind for neurologists and brain researchers. Shakespeare’s brain is the material site in the body in which his textual signs and discourses are produced under some material conditions of theatrical performance and sociocultural practices. In this context, Prof. Kim Kee-ho explores in his trail-blazing new book, Blind Love in the Brain, a very delicate and dangerous interweaving between Shakespeare’s imagination and his brain correlates, analyzing cognitive functions in the brain suggested in the excerpts from seven selected plays of Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Macbeth, Henry V, The Merchant of Venice, and The Tempest. The virtue of the book to the eyes of traditional Shakespeareans is that “blind love at first sight” still remains blind and romantic even after its image is demarked on the brain map. Since the brain scientists just stop at providing us with some phenomenological descriptions of the brain working with stimulants, not advancing to the explanation why the singular brain at issue works in that particular way. The limit of the book is attributed to the present stage in the development of brain scholarship.
Key Words
Shakespeare, humoral physiology, cognitive function, brain correlatives, blind love
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