I have just started to catch up with a two week MOOC delivered by the University of Nottingham on cognitive poetics. Having studied the Philosophy of Mind, I was intrigued by a course that addresses how we interact with fictional characters using our Theory of Mind and Folk Psychology to build cerebral relationships and understanding.
Our knowledge of how our own mind works informs how we interpret the minds of literary personifications. Knowing what something feels like, or experientiality, is one aspect of the fictional mind that we can find in a narrative.
Here’s a phrase to drop into your next conversation about literature – emotions are the teleological motors of narratives. I will trawl the MOOC for more gems like that.