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Forms and Shadows: A Cognitive-Poetic Reading of Charles Williams’s Fiction


Edited By Andrzej Sławomir Kowalczyk

This book is a cognitive-poetic study of the seven novels of Charles Williams (1886–1945), a British author of spiritual fiction and non-fiction, a poet, playwright and a literary critic. It approaches his multidimensional narratives with reference to cognitive phenomena and mechanisms such as the figure-ground organization, conceptual metaphors, conceptual blending, image schemata, scripts, cognitive narrative frames, narrative spaces, cognitive deixis, and empathy. The methodology not only stresses the role of the reader’s conceptual and emotional involvement in the building of the story-worlds, but also reveals the novels’ polyphonic character.

"This book is a convincing and thought-provoking study of Charles Williams’s fiction, which uncovers the unique, ambiguous senses of his works."

Prof. Grzegorz Maziarczyk,

The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland

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First and foremost, I am greatly indebted to Professors Anna Kędra-Kardela and Henryk Kardela (Maria Curie-Skłodowska University [UMCS], Lublin, Poland), thanks to whom, some time ago, I was bitten with a cognitive bug and decided to enter a new path in my studies of literary fiction. As my teachers and friends, Anna and Henryk have offered me their time, constant support and encouragement, as well as innumerable cups of excellent coffee. Were it not for their eloquence, experience, and critical attention, I would not have been able to avoid certain mistakes in this book. The same can be said about Professors Ludmiła Gruszewska Blaim and Artur Blaim (University of Gdańsk, Poland): my inspiring teachers, patient readers of my manuscripts, and tireless advisors. It is to them that I owe my academic interest in literature and literary theory. Their critical faculties and sense of irony have shaped my understanding of literary concepts and taught me how to ask (myself) questions I would never have thought of asking. I feel proud to have become a part of the Lublin-Gdańsk research group they have formed—the friendliest and most stimulating intellectual environment one can dream of.

Particular gratitude goes to Professor Grzegorz Maziarczyk (John Paul II Catholic University, Lublin, Poland), the reviewer of this book. His insightful remarks and suggestions have helped me to improve many parts of this study. Also, I wish to thank Professor Christopher Garbowski (UMCS) for his linguistic assistance.

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