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Mareile Hörstrup: "Concepts of Attention in the Contemporary North American Novel"

This dissertation examines a selection of North American novels written at the turn of the 21st century. Focus will be placed on the varying concepts of attention, a term characterized by a wide spectrum of meaning. To this end, perspectives drawn from other disciplines will come into consideration. A concept of attention central to this dissertation can be found within the socio-psychological Resource Theory developed in the 1970s (cf. Uriel G. Foa). A further theory of interest, The Reputation Economy, was proposed during the same period in which the novels in question were being written and views attention from a socio-economic angle (cf. Georg Franck). Attention in a merely perceptive sense - as discussed in the context of “information overload” - is closely related to this (cf. Michael H. Goldhaber).

The intent is to create a dialogue between literary and scientific texts. Attention transactions made by the author, such as the specific use of language and genre or the way of distributing his or her novel, will be integrated into the approach. Insights thus gained into all texts considered as well as effects of reciprocal exchange will be discussed.
 

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