in English
Dr Karin Kukkonen, FHEA
Why do readers get a sense of “being there” in the fictional world? How does prose narrative aim to achieve such immersion? My postdoctoral project “How the Novel Found its Feet: Embodiment in Eighteenth-Century Fiction" investigates how fictional worlds are fleshed out through readers' bodily engagements, how emotional responses are mapped from characters onto readers through embodied simulations and how narrators take readers on a ride through moral and social hierarchies, and it thereby unfolds a new perspective on embodiment in the emergent novel.

Broadly speaking, my research explores the interactions between literature and the human mind. As Balzan Postdoctoral Research Fellow at St John's College, University of Oxford (2010-2013), I have worked on the neoclassical rules of poetics (such as poetic justice), the ways in which they engage readers cognitively and emotionally, and how they shape the narrative strategies of the eighteenth-century novel. Before my research took me into the fascinating world of the rise of the novel, and English and French debates around what constitutes well-crafted fiction in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, I had completed a doctorate on a contemporary emergent genre: the graphic novel. My doctoral research at the Universities of Tampere and Mainz developed a cognitive approach to comics and traced the impact of postmodernism on narrative strategies in twenty-first-century comics.
My monograph Contemporary Comics Storytelling appeared in the Frontiers of Narrative Series with the University of Nebraska Press (2013) and my textbook Studying Comics and Graphic Novels  with Wiley-Blackwell (2013). Other publications include articles on the cognitive dimensions of uncooperative narrators, quixotic readers, masquerades,and the deal with the devil in the Gothic novel. I co-edited a volume on Metalepsis in Popular Culture (Narratologia - DeGruyter, 2011) and special issues of the journals Paragraph on "Reading Cognitively" (2014) and Style on "Second-Generation Cognitive Approaches to Literature" (2014).

Together with Prof Kate Nation and Dr Emily Troscianko, I set up the empirical project "Eye Movements in Literary Reading" at the University of Oxford. I am also a member of the IGEL North project, investigating reading in educational settings, and I serve in the steering committee of the European Narratology Network and the advisory committee of the project "A History of Distributed Cognition" at the University of Edinburgh.



Selected Publications: 

Contemporary Comics Storytelling. Frontiers of Narrative. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2013.
Studying Comics and Graphic Novels. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.
Edited with Sonja Klimek. Metalepsis in Popular Culture. Narratologia 28. Berlin: DeGruyter, 2011.
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"Bayesian Narrative: Probability, Plot and the Shape of the Fictional World." Anglia: Journal for English Philology 132.4 (2014): 720-739.
"Quixotic Reasoning: Counterfactuals, Causation and Literary Storyworlds" Paragraph 37.1 Special Issue on "Reading Cognitively" (2014): 47-61.
"Flouting Figures: Uncooperative Narration in the Fiction of Eliza Haywood" Language and Literature 22.3. Special Issue on "Rhetorical Narratology" (2013): 205-218.
"The Minds Behind the Mask: Reading for Character in the Eighteenth-Century Masquerade" Neophilologus 98 (2014 - online first in 2013): 161-176.
"Adam Smith meets the Devil: Demonic Pacts and Moral Sentiments in the Gothic Novel" in: Jakob Lothe and Jeremy Hawthorn, eds. Narrative Ethics. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2013. 183-196.
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"Space, Time and Causality in Graphic Narratives: An Embodied Approach" in: Daniel Stein and Jan-Noël Thon, eds. From Comic Strips to Graphic Novels: Contributions on the Theory and History of Graphic Narrative. Berlin: DeGruyter, 2013. 49-66.
"Comics Storytelling as a Testcase for Transmedial Narratology" SubStance 40.1. Special Issue on "Graphic Narrative and Narrative Theory" (2011): 34-51.
"Navigating Infinite Earths: Readers, Mental Models and the Multiverse of Superhero Storyworlds" Storyworlds: A Journal of Narrative Studies 2 (2010): 39-58.
Reprinted in: Charles Hatfield, Jeet Heer and Kent Worcester, eds. The Superhero Reader. Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 2013. 155-169.
"Popular Cultural Memory: Comics, Communities and Context Knowledge" Nordicom Review 29.2 (2008): 261-274.
For more on my publications, see my profiles on Google Scholar and

Reading, Mind and Body

A Lecture Series on Cognitive Approaches to Literature

Presence - "Being there" in Fictional Worlds

May 29th, 2015
University of Turku (Finland)