Reflections on the Magic of Artistic Discourse

253

Abstract

The discovery of the functional asymmetry of the brain's hemispheres is one of the greatest achievements in the field of psychology in late 20th century. In this context, artistic perception is considered in "Reflections on the Magic of Artistic Discourse". This essay accords particular attention to the interrelationship and antinomy of logical (left hemisphere) and figurative (right hemisphere) thinking. Thus, while the former posits a simplified, schematic model of reality, the latter perceives reality in all its complex polysemy and contradictoriness. It must be noted that these contradictions coexist without canceling each other out. This is the foundation of almost all literary fiction with its ambivalence, metaphoric language, implicitness, levels of connotation and play of meaning. It is well known that a thought uttered directly destroys the esthetic effect of a work of art whereas «a complicated artistic structure, created from the material of language, allows us to transmit a volume of information too great to be transmitted by an elementary, strictly linguistic structure» (Yu. Lotman). However, this kind of information is special and cannot be broken down into categories or reduced to a binary logical or black-and-white outline. It would, therefore, not be an exaggeration to say that all the devices used in a work of art undermine left hemisphere thought, loosening intellectual control over the text's metaphoric constituents. By using a series of examples to demonstrate the manner in which an artistic text functions and takes possession of the reader's attention, feelings and will, the author draws a parallel between artistic and hypnotic impact.The discovery of the functional asymmetry of the brain's hemispheres is one of the greatest achievements in the field of psychology in late 20th century. In this context, artistic perception is considered in "Reflections on the Magic of Artistic Discourse". This essay accords particular attention to the interrelationship and antinomy of logical (left hemisphere) and figurative (right hemisphere) thinking. Thus, while the former posits a simplified, schematic model of reality, the latter perceives reality in all its complex polysemy and contradictoriness. It must be noted that these contradictions coexist without canceling each other out. This is the foundation of almost all literary fiction with its ambivalence, metaphoric language, implicitness, levels of connotation and play of meaning. It is well known that a thought uttered directly destroys the esthetic effect of a work of art whereas «a complicated artistic structure, created from the material of language, allows us to transmit a volume of information too great to be transmitted by an elementary, strictly linguistic structure» (Yu. Lotman). However, this kind of information is special and cannot be broken down into categories or reduced to a binary logical or black-and-white outline. It would, therefore, not be an exaggeration to say that all the devices used in a work of art undermine left hemisphere thought, loosening intellectual control over the text's metaphoric constituents. By using a series of examples to demonstrate the manner in which an artistic text functions and takes possession of the reader's attention, feelings and will, the author draws a parallel between artistic and hypnotic impact.

General Information

Keywords: asymmetry of the brain's hemispheres, logical thinking, figurative thinking, artistic perception, art image, literary text, hypnotic addiction

Journal rubric: Interviews and Essays

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/chp.2021170116

For citation: Reyf I.E. Reflections on the Magic of Artistic Discourse. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2021. Vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 124–131. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2021170116.

References

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Information About the Authors

Igor E. Reyf, Freelance Journalist, Writer, Frankfurt, Germany, e-mail: igor.reyf@gmail.com

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