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Talk explores ties between literature and neuroscience

Feb. 26, 2010

KALAMAZOO--One of the world's foremost scholars of British Romanticism will consider the relationship between literature and neuroscience in a free, public discussion Thursday, March 11, at Western Michigan University.

Dr. Alan Richardson of Boston College will present "Defaulting to Fiction: Neuroscience Rediscovers the Romantic Imagination" at 7 p.m. in Room 3025 of Brown Hall.

In his lecture, Richardson will examine the concept of imagination as it is used by literary scholars and neuroscientists. He argues that more significant progress could be made toward understanding the capabilities of the human brain if scientists and scholars worked together to study the culture and ideologies of the past, specifically the British Romantic era.

Richardson earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University and is an English professor at Boston College. His research focuses on British Romanticism, literature and empire, early children's literature, and the application of cognitive science to literary studies.

His publications include the forthcoming "The Neural Sublime: Cognitive Theories and Romantic Texts" (Johns Hopkins, 2010); "British Romanticism and the Science of the Mind" (Cambridge UP, 2001); "Literature, Education, and Romanticism: Reading as Social Practice, 1780-1832" (Cambridge UP, 1994); and "A Mental Theater: Poetic Drama and Consciousness in the Romantic Age" (Penn State UP, 1988). In addition, he has co-edited "Early Black British Writing" (Houghton Mifflin, 2004) and "The Work of Fiction: Cognition, Culture, and Complexity."

Richardson's March 11 lecture is part of the WMU Department of English's Scholarly Speaker Series.

For more information, contact Dr. Anthony Ellis, assistant professor of English, at anthony.ellis@wmich.edu or (269) 387-2606.

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Media contact: Tonya Durlach, (269) 387-8400, tonya.durlach@wmich.edu

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