Cognitive Narratology and the ‘4Es’
‘Memorial Fabulation’ in David Almond’s My Name is Mina
Keywords:4E cognition, cognitive narratology, David Almond, age, memory, children’s literature studies
This essay demonstrates the fruitfulness of applying a lens based on 4E-inspired cognitive narratology to David Almond’s My Name is Mina (2010) in order to illuminate how the so-called cognitive-affective imbalance between children and adults needs reassessing, especially when it comes to memory. Merging recent developments in 4E – or embodied, embedded, extended, and enactive – approaches to cognition as proposed in philosophy of mind, with concepts such as fictional minds and storyworlds as discussed in cognitive narratology, I engage in close readings of My Name is Mina that reveal kinship between the adult author and his child character. In order to understand how Almond imagines the “what-it-is-likeness” (Nagel) of being Mina, I work with two premises that reflect this kinship: firstly, the shared trait of adults and children being human beings; and secondly, the confabulatory nature of memory recall that is experienced across all ages. Adults and children alike are “memorial fabulators” (Chambers), and 4E approaches to the cognitive study of literature can enrich the field of children’s literature studies and its considerations of adult authors’ mind depictions of child characters.
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