Experiencing literature – learning from experience: the application of neuroscience to literary analysis by example of representations of German colonialism in Uwe Timm’s Morenga
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Is it probable that a reader can have an empathetic and learning experience of an historical event facilitated through text? Research in neuroscience indicates that the form of a text can trigger mirror neurons, enhancing empathy with the events and characters portrayed and enabling introspective learning through stimulation of the default state network in a reading brain. Narrative elements in historical and fictional literature are analyzed for their potential in facilitating the stimulation of these states. The historical fiction novel Morenga by Uwe Timm is analyzed in order to deduce what a reader neurologically experiences in relation to the text and the historical event portrayed in the novel during the reading process. The probability of the reader experiencing empathy and learning through text so that their perspectives on inter-textual and extra-textual similar events are affected is then developed.