Dreamwork, Magical Thinking and Creativity in Literary Writing
Karin Kukkonen

February 20, 2024, 11:00am - 12:00pm

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Please note that this talk is at 11am-12pm Melbourne time. Use Australian Eastern Daylight Time when daylight savings applies (first Sunday in October to first Sunday in April).  Use Australian Eastern Standard Time for rest of the time

DescriptionLiterary fiction often features scenarios and events that appear dream-like or magical. In this talk, I will discuss how elements related to dreams and magical thinking find their way into literary fiction through authors’ creative practices, based on interviews with György Dragomán, Marina Warner and Siri Hustvedt. I approach the matter in the theoretical contexts of predictive processing and 4E cognition, where I understand fiction as a mode for navigating a mental state between focussed, mindful attention and mind-wandering (Kukkonen 2020; Kukkonen 2019; Fabry and Kukkonen 2019). The question I address is what practices authors draw on in order to create linguistic designer environments that enable readers to enter such a state. I discuss three case studies: György Dragomán’s use of highly embodied mental imagery in the creative process, Marina Warner’s exploration of magical thinking as an alternative causality track in autobiographical writing, and Siri Hustvedt’s rethinking of Freud’s dreamwork, in particular the notions of displacement and overdetermination. What emerges is an account in which “weak” forms of thought (Vattimo 1988) creatively open new realms for the human mind.

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