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Final Report Summary - NARLYR (The Narrative Lyric: Conceptual Blending of Spatial Schemata with Emotion in Poetry and Beyond)

The Narrative Lyric: Conceptual Blending of Spatial Schemata in Poetry and Beyond (NARLYR)

NARLYR was a research and training project funded by a three-year Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship for career development from the European Commission. The fellow was Crist?bal Pag?n C?novas. The scientist in charge in the US was Professor Mark Turner. The scientist in charge in the European Union was Professor Javier Valenzuela Manzanares.

From September 2009 to August 2011, the NARLYR fellow, Crist?bal Pag?n C?novas, worked at the Cognitive Science Department of the University of California San Diego, and at Case Western Reserve's University Department of Cognitive Science, the main host of the project. From September 2011 to August 2012, NARLYR's return phase was hosted by the University of Murcia's Greek Literature and Language, Cognition and Translation research groups. During the two months prior to the project, the fellow was a visiting scholar at the Linguistics Department of the University of California Berkeley, where he also attended the Linguistic Society of America Summer School 2009. In the last two months of the project, July-August 2012, the fellow was hosted by the ERC research group The Social and Cultural Construction of Emotions: The Greek Paradigm (Angelos Chaniotis, ERC Advanced Grant), at the Classics Faculty of the University of Oxford.

NARLYR was a research project on the poetics of emotion in Greek, Spanish, English, and other literatures. It has investigated conceptual patterns that recur across seemingly disparate examples of verbal art: metaphors, metonymies, complex symbols, etc.

NARLYR started as an application of cognitive linguistic frameworks to the study of meaning patterns across poetic metaphors of emotion. Later on, it grew to incorporate further approaches from the cognitive sciences. With Professor Jean Mandler (UCSD and UCL), the fellow has been connecting the project to research from developmental psychology, on the spatial foundations of the conceptual system, through the study of poetic imagery with underlying spatial gestalts originated during the first months of life. During the first months subsequent to NARLYR completion, the fellow and Professor Mandler will complete a theoretical article revising the definition of these early spatial gestalts, commonly called image schemas in the research literature. Image schemas are one of the major tenets in cognitive semantics, but research on them so far has not paid much attention to how they originate in early development. The fellow and Professor Mandler are also elaborating a study that looks for traces of some of these early gestalts in emotion metaphors in lyric poetry.

The fellow also started a research line on the affective and computational properties of time-space mappings in poetic metaphors, conventional language and visual representations, with Professor Seana Coulson (UCSD) and other collaborators. This has resulted in a variety of publications, including some forthcoming and in preparation. A series of related psycholinguistic experiments are currently in preparation. Some pilot studies have already been run at the University of Murcia cognitive psycholinguistics lab. NARLYR's European Union scientist in charge Professor Javier Valenzuela has presented some preliminary results at an international panel at the meeting of the Spanish Cognitive Linguistics Association.

During the fellow's stay at Case Western Reserve University, he established a part-time junior research group (9 months) focusing on metaphor research, which included Fulbright postdoc Mihailo Antovic and graduate students Austin Bennett and Max Jensen. Some results of the group's activity have been:
• A Pag?n C?novas & Jensen paper (on time metaphors) accepted in Language and Literature.
• The joint cognitive poetics project by Pag?n C?novas & Antovic won the FRIAS tandem fellowship at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies.
• Presentations at CogSci 2011 (Pag?n C?novas) and Metaphor Fest (Pag?n C?novas, Antovic).

NARLYR has also examined the conceptual templates in non-verbal representations of emotion, such as myths, painting or performance in ritual (see his article on the origins of the arrows of love in archaic Greek religion). The project has also produced work on semantics and pragmatics within the cognitive linguistic framework of Conceptual Integration Theory. NARLYR has produced publications both in humanities (e. g. The American Journal of Philology) and cognitive science venues (e. g. presentations at CogSci 2010 and 2011, and articles in Cognitive Semiotics), as well as numerous dissemination activities. The main results will be submitted for publication after the summer of 2012, the ending date of the project.

Further work on the project will be sponsored by the ERC group The Social and Cultural Construction of Emotions: The Greek Paradigm, at the University of Oxford. The fellow's further project, Cognitive Patterns in Greek Emotion Metaphors, was selected for a scholarship at this Oxford project in 2013. This project, related to NARLYR, involves writing a book on Greek love metaphors as well as to initiate a database of cognitive patterns in Greek emotion metaphors, the first repository based on patterns of conceptual integration. The European Commission's contribution through the Marie Curie IOF NARLYR project will be fully acknowledged in any publications resulting from the project sponsored by Oxford.

The fellow has also submitted grant applications to establish a junior research group for the study of conceptual templates for emotion and time in poetic imagery. The earlier versions of this project were ranked as quite competitive even during the return phase of NARLYR. More elaborated versions of this project will be submitted to international funding schemes during the first months after NARLYR.

The fellow's host research group, at the University of Murcia, has joined a consortium led by NARLYR's US scientist in charge, to create a multimodal database of international TV News, and analyze it using cognitive linguistic methodology.

NARLYR has been the first project in Europe to apply conceptual integration and other recent developments of research in conceptual mappings to a large-scale comparative study of verbal art. The project's results suggest that the interplay between entrenched cognitive patterns, culture, and creativity is much more complex than what cognitive linguistic research on metaphor has uncovered. By studying recurrent conceptual templates in the most sophisticated examples of poetic creativity, the figurative language of poetry, NARLYR has made two major methodological claims: a) examining regularities in how conceptual integration is taken to its limits in the most creative examples provides crucial insights about this higher-order cognitive operation; b) the comparative and diachronic study of meaning templates provides very relevant data for the history of concepts (in this case, mainly emotion concepts), as well as for the study of the particularities of style in different authors and periods.