'Your Brain on Literature' – Tuesday, Sept. 4

Jeffrey Saver and Kay Young's current research carves out groundbreaking interdisciplinary terrain between the sciences and the humanities.   

Tuesday, Sept. 4
Jeffrey Saver and Kay Young, “Your Brain on Literature: How Neurology and Literature Speak to Each Other”
Lakeside 212-213, 5 p.m.

In 1959, the British scientist and novelist C.P. Snow famously argued that “the intellectual life of the whole of western society” was split into two cultures – the sciences and the humanities – and that this division was a major problem in solving important issues in the world. Young and Saver are exemplary practitioners of the marriage of the two cultures; their research on the brain and its relationship with literature, grounded in current research in philosophy, neuroscience, cognitive science, psychology, psychiatry, and psychoanalysis, carves out groundbreaking interdisciplinary terrain that can serve as an inspiration for undergraduates and a model for other scholars.

Jeffrey Saver has been director of the UCLA Stroke Unit since its inception in 1995. A leader in cerebrovascular research and clinical care, Saver has published more than 200 original articles, more than 30 book chapters, and two edited volumes and has been the principal investigator of more than 50 clinical research studies. His research focuses on stroke prevention, acute stroke treatment, stroke diagnosis, and neurocognitive and neurobehavioral consequences of stroke.

Kay Young is a professor in the English Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She received her doctorate from Harvard University and completed an Academic Fellowship at the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles. Her central interests include literature and mind; the 19th-century English novel; classical hollywood film, aesthetics, narrative; and comedy. She is the author of “Ordinary Pleasures: Couples, Conversation and Comedy” as well as numerous articles on the intersections of science, art, psychoanalysis, neuroscience, narrative, and aesthetics. Young’s most recent book on consciousness and the 19th-century English novel is entitled, “Imagining Minds: The Neuro-Aesthetics of Austen, Eliot, and Hardy” (Ohio State UP).

Supported through a Fund for Excellence Grant from Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences