by J J Cohen
In case you missed it, a week ago the NYT Books section had a brief overview of recent research at the confluence of mind science and literature. A follow-up blog forum started yesterday.
My quick take? Most of the material collected here is -- despite the overblown titles under which the pieces were published -- remarkably lukewarm, as well as deeply conservative. Evolution, genes, brain mapping, and Jane Austen figure prominently; creativity, artistic endeavor, word poets, and boundary-busting not so much. Jonah Lehrer's work was not mentioned, I suppose because he isn't an academic. But neither was Bryan Reynolds (<-- follow that link if you want to arrive at my favorite academic personal web page ever), who doesn't synthesize science and literary-cultural studies so much as push them together into places they've never been.