Linguistic and Cultural Specifics of Mind-Wandering in Ivan Turgenev’s <i>Asya</i>


  • Jonas Wieschollek


In this article I argue that the choice of language and specific cultural contexts play an important role for literary representations of mind-wandering. While this has been pointed out before in both mind-wandering research and Cognitive Literary Studies (CLS), I enhance this thesis in two directions, focusing on Ivan Turgenev’s short narrative Asya (1858). After a brief discussion of the role of linguistic contexts in CLS, I will first give a detailed account of the linguistic and cultural specificities that influence the representation of mind-wandering in Russian literary texts like Asya. As I will show, episodes of mind-wandering in this text rely on linguistic characteristics and cultural contexts of Russian language and literature that can hardly be conveyed in translation. Secondly, I suggest that the real challenge for culturally diverse CLS research lies in discerning the fine line between a language’s specific linguistic properties and common features of literary representations of mind wandering, as Asya contains both specific Russian and more general features of mind-wandering.