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The Contracts of Fiction – Cognition, Culture, Community - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Contracts of Fiction: Cognition, Culture, Community

Ellen Spolsky


This book considers the advantages of describing fictions as governed by a set of social contracts. It combines current cognitive research with attention to the historical context of works of imagination to argue against the claim that fictions corrupt clear thinking and provide, at best, inert pleasures. The chapters explore the different ways creative work in media from statues to stage plays helps to maintain cultural homeostasis. Like the social contracts of law, language, kinship, and money, the social contracts of fiction are constructed and continually revised within communities. They t ... More

Keywords: contracts of fiction, cognitive research, cultural homeostasis, framing effect, genre, The Spanish Tragedy, Titus Andronicus, Hamlet, early modern London, revisionary thinking

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780190232146
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190232146.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Ellen Spolsky, author
Bar-Ilan University, Professor Emeritus