My dissertation examines the intersection between theories of body and of genre through the lens of cognitive science. It focuses, in particular, on representations of bodies in exemplars of fabliaux in Old French and Middle English, chivalric romance that feature the figure of Sir Gawain, and the Latin Chronicle of Bury St Edmunds. It establishes genre theory on cognitive-scientific ground by considering how scientific findings in the field of embodied cognition suggest changes to our current theories of genre. Rather than a container into which works fit, genre is a network of associations created in the minds of authors and audiences. This network finds expression in the representation of characters’ bodies, which differ across genres. Genre and bodies influence, in fundamental ways, interpretations of literary works. Finally, it discusses possibilities for future research through quantitative textual analysis and data visualization.
Widner, Michael. Genre Trouble: Embodied Cognition in Fabliaux, Chivalric Romance, and Latin Chronicle. Diss. The University of Texas at Austin, 2014.