A free online course about understanding literary characters’ minds begins next week. Run in conjunction with Future Learn and The University of Nottingham, it’s a short two week course in the field of what is known as cognitive poetics.
And if that sounds a bit technical, don’t be put off. It’s about applying the science of cognition to how we read and process literature.
So if you’re a reader or a writer of fiction then this course should help to explain why we feel the way we do about fictional characters. Why do they make us angry, sad or happy? Why do their lives matter to us?
I don’t know about you but when I’ve read a book where I’ve identified strongly with one or more of the characters, I feel sadness when I get to the end. Why is that? When a great character dies – why do I grieve? (I have to confess I have cried over countless characters’ deaths – even non-human ones such as Dobby in Harry Potter).
It sounds like a really interesting course and I’m looking forward to it starting next Monday. There are no limits to who can join (as far as I’m aware) so if you’d like more information or to sign up, then click here or follow the chat on twitter with hashtag #FLread or follow lead educator @PeterJStockwell