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Whereas Ingarden’s studies on the strata of the literary work of art have attracted considerable critical attention, it is not the case with the other building-block of his theory, the concept of the literary work’s temporal phases. It was ignored by the French structuralists and the American pragmatists, and, more recently, by neuroscience, although the latter is founded on insights that are similar to Ingarden’s. A comparison of the two approaches shows that his concept of temporality remains as relevant as ever. It is an analytical tool of remarkable precision that can be used to examine schemas of understanding conditioned by the sequential nature of language, especially in case complex schemas elicited by utterances with many themes and hardly any temporal or causal links. Ingarden’s analyses shed light on the analogically-functioning memory mechanisms that generate cognitive schemas responsible for the integration of the experienced objects. Drawing on Edmund Husserl, Henri Bergson and philosophers of the Lvov-Warsaw School, Ingarden assigned the key role in that process to foreshortening and the retention-protention mechanism. After identifying these sources of inspiration it is possible to suggest an alternative solution to the problem of the cognitive value of neuroscience narrative protocols and to situate current developments in narratology in a broader conceptual framework.
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