Center for the Arts and Humanities

Shakespeare and the Blending Mind

2008 Mellon Symposium, Organized by Michael Booth
April 18–19, 2008

Shakespeare and the Blending Mind

This interdisciplinary symposium will consider Shakespeare’s poetic and dramatic artistry from the perspective of "conceptual blending," the mind’s ability to create things by combination; metaphor is one form of blending we’ll consider, and theatrical illusion is another.

The symposium has been organized by Michael Booth, Mellon Post-doctoral Fellow, Haverford College and sponsored by the John B. Hurford ’60 Humanities Center at Haverford College.


Friday, April 18

5:00 p.m.

Wine and Cheese Reception
Stokes 106

6:00 p.m.

Mark Turner, Case Western Reserve University
"A Muse of Fire, That Would Ascend the Brightest Heaven of Invention"

Gilles Fauconnier, University of California, San Diego
"Time, Death, and Mirrors: Vagaries of the Blending Mind"
Common Room, Founders

Saturday, April 19

Session I: Haverford Whitehead Campus Center, Room 205

9:30—10:10 a.m.

Eve Sweetser
Department of Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley
"Shakespearean Performance Spaces, and the Voices Between Them"

10:20—11:00 a.m.

Barbara Dancygier
Department of English, University of British Columbia
"Material Objects and the Stage: Meaning-making and Discourse Patterns"

11:10—11:50 a.m.

Mary Thomas Crane
Department of English, Boston College
"Roman World, Egyptian Earth: Cognitive Difference and Empire in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra "

Session II: Haverford Campus Center, Room 205

1:30—2:10 p.m.

Amy Cook
Department of Theater, Emory University
"Hamlet’s Mirror"

2:20—3:00 p.m.

F. Elizabeth Hart
Department of English, University of Connecticut, Storrs
"Parting Company: Blending, Spectatorship, and Hamlet's Homage to Yorick"

3:10—3:50 p.m.

Bruce McConachie
Department of Theater, University of Pittsburgh
"Middle Temple Spectators Blend Boy Actors and Female Characters in Twelfth Night."

4:30—5:30 p.m.

Roundtable with Katharine Eisaman Maus
Department of English, University of Virginia


Amy Cook is currently a Mellon Fellow in Emory University’s Theater Department. She is completing her first book, Shakespearean Neuroplay: Where Cognitive Science Meets Performance Studies. Her essay "Interplay: The Method and Potential of a Cognitive Approach to Theatre" was published in the December 2007 "New Paradigms" issue of Theatre Journal. Her "Staging Nothing: Hamlet and Cognitive Science," was published in SubStance (2006). She got her Ph.D. in Theatre and Drama at University of California, San Diego where she studied with Gilles Fauconnier, Rafael Núñez, and Seana Coulson as well as, on the Shakespeare side of things, Louis Montrose and Bryan Reynolds.

Mary Thomas Crane is Professor of English at Boston College. She is the author of Framing Authority: Sayings, Self, and Society in Sixteenth-Century England (Princeton, 1993) and Shakespeare's Brain: Reading with Cognitive Theory (Princeton, 2001). She is co-editor, with Henry Turner, of the Ashgate Press series "Literary and Scientific Cultures of Early Modernity." She is currently working at the intersections of early modern science, literature, epistemology, and cognitive theories of language.

Barbara Dancygier is Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Her main research interests lie in cognitive linguistics and cognitive approaches to literary texts. In particular, she is using theories of conceptual metaphor, mental spaces, and conceptual integration to describe the ways in which concepts underlying linguistic structures and forms are applied in literature with creative and innovative effects. She has published widely, on linguistic phenomena (especially conditionals, cf. Conditionals and Prediction, Cambridge UP 1998, and Mental Spaces in Grammar, with Eve Sweetser, Cambridge UP 2005), but also on the nature of the narrative and on the use of discourse in contemporary poetry. She has also guest-edited a special issue of the journal Language and Literature on conceptual integration, which presented various applications of blending theory in fiction, poetry, drama, and film.

Gilles Fauconnier is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Cognitive Science at U.C., San Diego. Fauconnier is one of the founders of cognitive linguistics through his work on pragmatic scales and mental spaces and the author of a number of books on linguistics and cognitive science, including Mental Spaces, Mappings in Thought and Language, and, with Mark Turner, The Way We Think. A former Guggenheim Fellow, Fulbright scholar, and Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study at Stanford, Fauconnier was a professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and the University of Paris VIII; he was a visiting professor in Europe, Japan, North and South America, China, and Africa. His recent research explores conceptual integration, compression of conceptual mappings, and emergent structure in language and beyond.

F. Elizabeth Hart is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. She specializes in Renaissance literature, with an emphasis on Shakespeare, and cognitive approaches to literature and culture. She has authored articles on Shakespeare in Shakespeare Quarterly, Studies in English Literature, and The Upstart Crow, and on cognitive literary theory in Mosaic, Philosophy and Literature, College Literature, and Configurations. She is the co-editor with theatre historian Bruce McConachie of Performance and Cognition: Theatre Studies and the Cognitive Turn (2006), a first-ever collection of scholarly essays on cognitive theory and the performance arts. Her book-in-progress, Reading, Consciousness, and Renaissance Romance, considers romance fiction and Shakespearean drama in light of cognitive theories of literacy and narrative.

Katharine Eisaman Maus is the James Branch Cabell Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Virginia. She has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a Senior Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies. Her Inwardness and Theater in the English Renaissance was awarded the Roland Bainton Book prize for an outstanding book in Renaissance studies by the Sixteenth Century Association. She is also the author of Ben Jonson and the Roman Frame of Mind (Princeton, 1984), and some two dozen scholarly articles in English Renaissance studies. She is an editor of: The Oxford English Literary History, 1603-1660; The Norton Shakespeare; The Norton Anthology of English Literature, eighth edition; English Renaissance Drama: A Norton Anthology; Four Revenge Tragedies of the English Renaissance (Oxford); and Soliciting Interpretation: Literary Theory and English Seventeenth-Century Poetry.

Bruce McConachie chairs the Theatre Arts Department at the University of Pittsburgh. He has published widely in American theatre history, theatre historiography, and cognitive studies in performance. McConachie's major publications include Interpreting the Theatrical Past (with T. Postlewait, 1989), Melodramatic Formations: American Theatre and Society, 1820-1870 (1992), American Theater in the Culture of the Cold War: Producing and Contesting Containment, 1947-1962 (2003), Theatre Histories: An Introduction (with P. Zarrilli, G. Williams and C. Sorgenfrei, 2006), and Performance and Cognition: Theatre Studies and the Cognitive Turn (with F. Hart, 2006). His Engaging Audiences: A Cognitive Approach to Spectating will be published next fall. A former President of the American Society for Theatre Research, McConachie co-edits the "Cognitive Studies in Literature and Performance" series for Palgrave-Macmillan.

Eve Sweetser is a Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. An avowed "interdisciplinary program junkie," she also directs the U.C. Berkeley Program in Celtic Studies, and is a past director of the Program in Cognitive Science. She has been a Fulbright Research Fellow at the University of Sofia, Bulgaria, and a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford. She has been President of the International Cognitive Linguistics Association, and serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Pragmatics, Papers in Pragmatics, Metaphor and Symbol, Cognitive Linguistics, and Gesture. She is the author of From Etymology to Pragmatics (Cambridge, 1990), and, with Barbara Dancygier, Mental Spaces in Grammar (Cambridge, 2005). Her article "The suburbs of your good pleasure: Cognition, Culture and the Bases of Metaphoric Structure" appeared in Shakespeare in the Age of Cognitive Science; Shakespeare International Yearbook, vol. 4 (Ashgate, 2004).

Mark Turner is Institute Professor and Chair of Cognitive Science at Case Western Reserve University. He has been Dean of Arts and Sciences at Case Western, Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, and Associate Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford. He is the author or coauthor of numerous books including: The Way We Think, with Gilles Fauconnier; The Literary Mind (Oxford, 1996), Reading Minds (Princeton, 1991), More Than Cool Reason, with George Lakoff (U. Chicago, 1989) and Death is the Mother of Beauty (U. Chicago, 1987). He has been a Fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Humanities Center, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has published dozens of scholarly articles, and serves on editorial boards including: Cognitive Semantics; Political Behavior—Cognition, Psychology, & Behavior; and the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language Sciences. Mark Turner and Gilles Fauconnier are the original expositors of the cognitive science paradigm known as Blending theory. Turner was Guest Editor of Shakespeare in the Age of Cognitive Science; Shakespeare International Yearbook, vol. 4 (Ashgate, 2004).


Michael Booth

Michael Booth was the Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow for 2006-08. Professor Booth came to Haverford from Boston University, where he was Assistant Professor of Humanities; he has also taught at Brandeis and Georgetown Universities. His doctoral work focused on the relationships between science and language, and between science and literature, during the Early Modern period. In his second year, Michael organized "Shakespeare and the Blending Mind," an interdisciplinary symposium considering Shakespeare's poetic and dramatic artistry from the perspective of "conceptual blending," the mind's ability to create things by tactics of combination ranging from metaphor to theatrical illusion. Presenters included the expositors of conceptual blending theory Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner, as well as seven other visiting scholars.