Poetry and the Brain
Why is it that some poems have such immediate appeal? In his new book, Raoul Schrott shows how basic literary stylistic devices reflect neural processes.
How is it that we can become so engrossed in a book as to completely forget the world around us? Why do certain rhymes stay with us for a lifetime and some metaphors hit us like thunderbolts? These are questions that touch on the fundamentals of our thinking. In search of the secrets of poetry, Raoul Schrott looks at the latest scientific research - in collaboration with Arthur Jacobs, who has been studying the neurobiological basis of language for many years, he examines the overlap of key stylistic devices used in literature and elementary brain processes. All over the world, a line of poetry is read and in about three seconds - this corresponds to the capacity of our neural memory. Metaphors are the products of neural connections, and we already know a lot about these mechanisms - poetry and neurobiology illustrate one another reciprocally. Using a rich variety of examples from different eras, Raoul Schrott demonstrates how we think - and why - and how this results in poetry.