• A Delphic Introduction

    Christopher Collins (see profile)
    Poetics and Poetry
    Consciousness, Evolution, Religion, Civilization, Classical, History, Ancient
    Item Type:
    Cognitive poetics. Evolution of the Self. Western religious & literary traditions., Cognitive poetics, Evolution of consciousness, Religions of late Antiquity
    Permanent URL:
    The essay below is a draft of the introductory chapter to a book tentatively titled “Psychopoetics: Religion, Poetry, and the Evolution of the Western Self.” This project is intended as the third volume in a series that I began with Paleopoetics (2013) and followed with Neopoetics (2016), both of which were published by Columbia University Press. As in the two prior studies, I will be examining how cultural, as well as biological, evolution conditions the cognitive processes employed by the verbal imagination. In researching the representation of personal identity, I came to realize how little I had ever thought about the nature of the self—my self, having always assumed that the self-concept I had grown up with was shared by every other human being. I soon discovered that, though we all share a number of deeply evolved traits, divergent cultural traditions generate different models of selfhood. The dominant Western self-concept, shaped by over a millennium and a half of Scripture-grounded theological debate, is in many ways peculiar to Europe and to European cultures across the globe. If, as I think it safe to say, every literary tradition reflects a culturally endorsed model of the self, it is lyric poetry with its first-person point-of-view that focuses most attention on the problematics of this topic. In the secular poetry of late medieval Europe, especially the sonnet, we find the earliest transcripts of the unresolved emotions we still recognize in ourselves, an inner conflict that the Christian doctrine of the self made unavoidable. **** This essay will give you a sense of my project. I invite your comments and welcome your recommendations. Contact: cc3@nyu.edu
    Last Updated:
    5 years ago
    Share this:


    Item Name: docx 2019-prepublication-ch.-1-.docx
    Activity: Downloads: 79