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Joint attention, semiotic mediation and literary narrative

Event information

START DATE 10 May 2016
START TIME 02:00pm

Room C128, College Building, Middlesex University, London, NW4 4BT

END DATE 10 May 2016
END TIME 03:00pm

Middlesex University’s Adam Lively presents his paper discussing the importance for narrative theory of the concept of “joint attention”

In this paper Adam discusses the importance for narrative theory of the concept of "joint attention". Having explained its significance for the emergence of narrative in young children, he draws out its implications for understanding narrative signification: where classical narratology is based on chains of communicative dyads (signifier/signified and sender/receiver), joint attention integrates these functions into a triadic semiotic where the sign mediates between the producer of the sign, its receiver, and the object of joint attention. Joint attention offers affordances for quasi-recursive re-contextualization in which the objects of joint attention consist of other acts of joint attention: literary narrative creates complex joint attentional structures by which the story is "seen" through nested perspectival prisms of embedded narrative and character.


Dr Adam Lively received his PhD from Royal Holloway College in 2015. His academic research explores the implications for literary and narrative theory of contemporary cognitive science and philosophy of mind. In addition to this research he has published four novels and a number of short stories. He is currently a fixed-term Lecturer in Creative Writing at Middlesex University.

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For more information or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

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