Monograph, under advance contract for the Theory and Interpretation of Narrative series at the Ohio State University Press Fi-Sci: Avatars of Science in Fiction Cognitive studies of metaphor and analogy suggest that we reason about each experience or concept in terms of another. But what happens when the concept is indiscernible, such as heredity, or inconceivable, like an eleven-dimensional space? Our minds reach out to these concepts via analogy as well, but with one crucial difference: the only experience in terms of which we can reason about them is fiction. A rhetorical approach reveals that fiction uniquely offers conceptual access to strange and confounding natural phenomena, in a process of fiction—science pattern mapping. When a form in fiction is analogous to a form in science, we can reason about the latter in terms of the former. Though we encounter the science without the assumption of fictionality that cloaks us when we read fiction, we carry over the form perceived in the story. This carrying over – this recognition of similitude – is the mechanism that opens conceptual access to the indiscernible and the inconceivable.
Book chapter, under review
“Borges’ Lens: The Symphony of a Rhizomatic Course.” Approaches to Teaching the Works of Jorge Luis Borges, edited by José Eduardo González, Modern Language Association, forthcoming.